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Max reviews The White War by Mark Thompson

The White War by Mark Thompson (Basic Books) Many Anglo-Saxons perceive Italy’s role in modern history as marginal and verging upon absurdity. Few American or British people contrived to hate Mussolini and his nation in the Second World War as they hated Hitler and his, because they did not fear Italians in the same way. There were those ponderous jokes which pleased stupid men with large moustaches in English pubs in the 1950s, about Italian tanks lavishly equipped with reverse gears. The day after Italy entered World War I in May 1915, a Slovene child in the Hapsburg Alpine village of Caporetto contributed something to the same legend by exclaiming as he saw Bersaglieri troops cycling towards him in their exotic plumed hats: ‘Daddy, daddy, look at all the ladies coming here on bikes !’ (p.71). Read More

Max reviews The Crimean War

The Crimean War by Orlando Figes (Metropolitan Books) The Crimean War In The British Imagination by Stefanie Markovits (Cambridge) Considering the depth of mutual suspicion and animosity between Britain and Russia after 1815, it is astonishing that the lion and bear have fought each other only twice. At Winston Churchill’s behest, British forces played a desultory role supporting the White interest in the 1919-21 Civil War. The nations clashed much more fiercely between 1854 and 1856, when the Crimean War made a flagellatory impact on British society: it set a benchmark for political and military bungling, and public recrimination about it, which endures today. Read More

Critical acclaim for All Hell Let Loose

(Published as INFERNO in the US) From the New York Times: “Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945” sums up and surpasses all his previous publications: a new, original and necessary history, in many ways the crowning of a life’s work Read More

Welcome

Welcome to Max’s new website. Here you will find a host of information on Max’s work, including both archive and new material. Read More

A Glimpse of a Work in Progress

Max's next book is to be a study of 1914- the approach to the First World War, its outbreak and early campaigns up to December, when the vast European battles of movement ended, and the trench stalemate became acknowledged on both the Eastern and Western fronts. 1914: Europe's Tragedy will feature Max's usual blend of top-down analysis and bottom-up human experience, mostly based on research in archives around Europe. Below is a snapshot, a random sample, of a few of the hundreds of pages of notes the author has already assembled, before starting to write the epic narrative that will be published for the centenary in 2014. Read More