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Requiem for Doomed Youth

Penguin Random House 2016

This is what ‘Passchendaele’ has come to mean in the public mind: a struggle that, even by the standards of the Great War, entered the realm of the diabolical and monumentally futile.

Men, animals, ordnance and pouring rain were thrown together in a maelstrom of steel and flesh in the name of a strategy that anticipated casualties in the hundreds of thousands. Such huge losses were not some epic blunder; they were planned for, described as  ‘normal wastage’ by commanders who had lost control of the war.

In Passchendaele I shine a laser on the poisonous relationship between the British prime minister and his military commanders, and show how their pride and ambition dragged out one of the worst battles in an avoidable catastrophe that destroyed the best part of a generation.


The dysfunctional relationship between Douglas Haig and Lloyd George … fomented the tragedy of Passchendaele.


'This epic work is a painstakingly detailed illustration of the terrible consequences that can follow from such tensions between an elected government and its military leader.'

The Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction (winner’s citation)

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