Mud Blood and Poppycock

Discussion in 'Films, Music and All Things Artsy' started by Ventress, Jan 9, 2004.

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  1. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    Have just read Corrigans book, any thoughts from other readers of it?
  2. Sorry, never heard of it!

  3. Me neither, but did you know that the word 'poppycock' is derived from the Old Dutch 'pappe' meaning soft, and 'kak' meaning sh*t.

    So it's probably a load of soft sh*te.
  4. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator


    How about: Any thoughts from you?

    Mr H
  5. Yes I've read it and it's a tad revisionist. Could almost be a Neue Arbeit explanation with of course the vast majority of attendees conveniently dead. Just a thought..........
  6. Corrigan's book is an excellent piece of popular history - a long overdue appreciation of the British Army's phenomenal achievement in the Great War. "Revisionist" it may be, but then so is most of the work of serious historians researching the British Army in the First World War; viewed objectively the evidence pretty much speaks for itself! For those interested, a very good book by a highly regarded military historian is Gary Sheffield's "Forgotten Victory"(2001). See also on Douglas Haig (anything but the boneheaded buffoon of popular myth), the nature of the Great War and the problems faced on the W Front, and the final victory in 1918 the following 3 books, all by John Terraine:
    "Douglas Haig, The Educated Soldier"(1963)
    "The Smoke & The Fire" (1980)
    "To Win A War: 1918, The Year of Victory" (1978)

    Anything by Hew Strachan (who has edited and written extensively on WWI) is also worth a read.
  7. Also read anything by John Bourne (Director of the Centre for First World War Studies at Birmingham), or Peter Simkins (former senior historian at the IWM), or Richard Holmes and you get a very different view from the 'old school'. You can also throw in the work of Malcom Brown, Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson ('Command on the Western Front' - their two later books aren't quite as good) and Shelford Bidwell and Dominick Graham amongst others. Many of the earlier 'Donkeys' school of historians didn't have access to the records, and some that have used them have faced damning reviews for ignoring (and in some cases apparently wilfully misrepresenting) the masses of documentation available to them. None of this reveals Haig as a misunderstood genius, but places what he did in context. He made mistakes, some of which had appalling results and some of which he could, perhaps have avoided.

    However, as John Bourne pithily puts it: 'Douglas Haig fulfilled the most important criterion of generalship. He won. The scale of his victories was the greatest in British military history. His countrymen have never forgiven him.'

    '"Revisionist" isn't a dirty word, Blackadder!'

    PS - Mr H; have retrieved your address from my recalitrant PM system; article on its way to you on Monday.
  8. Corrigan is presenting a programme about Haig on Channel 5 on Friday
  9. Damn - thought this was the expose of Poppys experiences with men.
  10. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    But see also Dennis Winter's 'Haig's Command' which actually drew on many more contemporary sources than Terraine did and presents a view that is damning in the extreme.
  11. you a bit of a voyeur then mu darling?
  12. I read the book last year. It is not bad at all. It does attempt to lay to rest some of the more popular but outrageous claims made against Haig and the others in charge.
  13. Er... Yes, but a chap called Jeff Gray (an Aussie historian) tore the book to pieces in a review. If you compare the actual documents with what Winter wrote then the thesis of the book falls to bits. It appears that Winter quotes very selectively from the documents, and, IIRC (I don't have the review to hand) there are places where Winter's omissions change the meaning of the material. I'll try to find an online copy of the review for info.

    I can't think of any serious historian of the First World War who regards Winter's book as being anything other than one of the shoddiest pieces of scholarship masquerading as a serious history published in the last thirty years (including those who regard Haig as a blundering idiot).

    On the positive side, the original paperback edition is very absorbant and good for mopping up coffee stains.
  14. There are several writers publishing thin derivative populist history under the "revisionist banner" who have little to add -except to their bank accounts. Corrigan's book is one of the few works of military history I have ever abandoned half way through. Its a rehash (like Robin Neilands aplogia for British Generallship) Both Corrigan and Neillands build straw men to shoot down with very thin arguments supporting the over blown revisionist line. I was at Neillands book launch at RUSI. The panel put forwards the full revisionist manifesto.

    WW1 unavoidable and a good thing...
    Only complaints about WW1 was through nancy boy poets and commies. No real Britis regretted the sacrificed generation....
    The last 100 days proves how fantastic the British army really was.....

    John Keegan wrote a fair answer to this line in his history of the Great War.

    Much better. to read something new.

    The German Army on the Somme 1914-1916 by Jack Sheldon really doies add something - the under analysed German view of this battle. Its a bit of a challange for the revisionists. If the Brits were so good - how come the Germans often managed to do more with less? (This is based on German Regimental histories and medal citations -but so is a lot of British history) I hope Sheldon is doing somehting similar for Yres and Vimy Ridge.
  15. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    The author is a respected Battlefield Guide and I found the book put to bed some of the old myths we so love about the WW1.

    Bit like most Military myths, its nice when they are discredited with such good arguement.