1916 was a year of killing. The British remember the Somme, but earlier in the year the heart of the French army was ripped out by the Germans at Verdun. The garrison city in north-eastern France was the focus of a massive German attack, the French fought back ferociously, leading to a battle that would claim hundreds of thousands of lives and permanently scar the French psyche. To this day one can visit the site of ghost villages uninhabited since, but still cherished like shrines. Memories of Verdun would greatly influence military and political thinking for decades to come as both sides came away with memories of bravery, futility and horror. Malcolm Brown has produced a vivid new history of this epic clash, drawing on original illustrations and eye-witness accounts he has captured the spirit of battle that defines the hell of warfare on the Western Front.
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