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The Catastrophe of 8 August 1918

(8 customer reviews)
14/Oct/2019
German History, World War I
456
Hardback
153mm x 230mm
9781922265043
$34.99

“This book is the most detailed account available of 8 August 1918 from the German side …  the uniqueness of this book is a good one: Bose had access to German war records that were later destroyed in World War II.’ – Peter Masters, Military Books Australia

Thilo von Bose’s 1930 book The Catastrophe of 8 August 1918 is the 36th and last volume in a series of popular semi-official German histories of the First World War. It documents in great detail the ‘black day of the German Army’ at the Battle of Amiens in August 1918, a turning point that set the Allies on the road to victory just 100 days later.

With considerable moral courage, Bose describes the causes and catastrophic nature of the defeat inflicted by a combined force of Australian, Canadian, French and British troops. Alongside his powerful critique of the failure of German command, Bose tells the human story of German soldiers as individuals rather than an anonymous field-grey mass.

This new edition of his important book presents the original German text in parallel with the first ever English translation. The introduction, appendices, maps and photographs explain and illustrate the historical and military context, allowing the reader to navigate an easy path through Bose’s account.

This unique combination of content makes the book a key source in introducing a new audience to scholarship on the First World War and will also assist those keen to research the German side of the conflict in more depth.

David Pearson

David Pearson

David Pearson, FSA, is an archaeologist and information technology specialist at the Department of Parliamentary Services, Canberra. He has published extensively on archaeological, digital preservation and military historical issues and his main research interests concern the technological and social contexts of conflict archaeology. Catastrophe is his fourth book.

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Paul Thost

Paul Thost

Paul Thost, AFAIM, was born in Germany in 1929 and came to Australia in 1953 where he built a career in the automotive industry. Paul has written numerous articles for aviation magazines and translated many German technical documents for the Australian War Memorial over a period of 15 years. He is currently a volunteer at […]

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Tony Cowan

Tony Cowan

Tony Cowan is a retired British diplomat currently writing a book based on his PhD thesis on German operational command in the First World War. He has lectured widely and contributed book chapters on the regional identities, defensive tactics, command and battle worthiness of the German army during the war.

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8 reviews for The Catastrophe of 8 August 1918

  1. This unique combination of content makes the book a key resource in introducing a new audience to scholarship on the First World War. It will also assist those keen to research the German side of the conflict in more depth.

  2. This edition presents the original German text in parallel with the first ever English translation.
    The introduction, appendices, separate individual maps and photographs explain and illustrate the historical and military context, allowing the reader to navigate through Bose’s account.

  3. The fundamental aim of the series, says Dr Tony Cowan, the editor of this edition, was to make up ‘for the perceived deficiencies of traditional military history, with its emphasis on higher levels of command, reluctance to criticise and anonymous authorship.’
    Cowan compares this approach with that of Australia’s official historian, C.E.W. Bean. By focusing on the lower levels of the military hierarchy, the series would ‘satisfy the need of veterans and the families of the dead to understand the context …’.

  4. This book is the most detailed account available of 8 August 1918 from the German side.

  5. This superb production is more than a fitting tribute to the original work; it is an exemplar of the potential of the discipline of military history for contributing to a more precise understanding of a rapidly fading past.

  6. Von Bose’s book is clearly worth studying by anyone interested in the Battle of Amiens. Given the significant role of the Australian Corps it is not surprising that this translation was an Australian initiative. It is a major piece of scholarship. The original German text is printed (in the Gothic typeface used at the time) with the English translation running concurrently on the facing page. This reviewer cannot comment on the accuracy of the translation but the English text undoubtedly reads very well and as an example the account of the night of 7/8 August and the onset of the Allied attack is one of the most gripping accounts of a First World War action that I have ever read. The quality of the English text alone would justify buying the book but the added value in the critical apparatus makes it an even better bargain. Gary Sheffield’s introduction sets the political and military context. Tony Cowan’s Editor’s Introduction is a goldmine of information not just on the historiography of the book but on the organization and defensive doctrine of the German Army in 1918. The translators fully explain their methodology and together with the appendices on German military abbreviations, ranks and cartographic place names have created an invaluable resource for students of the First World War. There is an extensive bibliography, an excellent series of German and Allied photographs, mostly from the Australian War Memorial and the maps of the original edition have been reproduced. Barbara Taylor provides a modern map which sets
    the older maps in context (and will be familiar to BCMH 2015 Battlefield Tour participants).

  7. This work enables its readers to see the ‘other side of the coin’, and as such it plays a vital part in completing the comprehensive coverage of the turning point in the Great War.

  8. This volume is a must have for any scholar of the Western Front – particularly those with no German language skills. A great read on it’s own, Catastrophe is also an important text for students of the war, and will help both to illuminate the other side of the wire, and to provide signposts for further reference in research. Pearson and Thorst are to be commended on a very welcome addition to the English language history of the First World War – and I hope there is more to come.

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