The Battle of Menin Road 1917
Big Sky Publishing, 2018
Paperback 188pp RRP: $19.99
Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, August 2018
This is the twentieth volume in the Australian Army Campaign Series and the tenth dealing with a battle in the First World War. The series was established to promote the study and understanding of military history within the Army.
Dr Roger Lee had much to do with his series in his former life as Head of the Army History Unit – he is now one of the War Memorial’s official historians for the war in Iraq. The series continues to go from strength to strength. Though it may have been designed for the education of officers, the series has much wider appeal. Each of its volumes is well written and illustrated. The detailed maps are models of clarity. Each volume is dispassionately critical and very well researched.
This volume is at least at the high standard of its predecessors. Its strength is providing a comprehensive context for the battle. Menin Road was one of the set of battles for Passchendaele – or 3rd Ypres. 117 of this book’s 174 pages deal with context, and not one of them could be done without. The strategic setting, terrain, forces involved, prior battles and commanders need to be understood. Similarly, the aftermath of the battle deserves explanation - and it gets it.
It is to be hoped that the comprehensive nature of this series and its remarkably cheap price ensure that the books are widely sold and appreciated.
The RUSI VIC would like to thank the publishers for their kindness in providing a review copy.