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Table of Contents

Introduction I. The Three Hundred Days of Verdun II. Verdun under German Eyes III. Verdun under French Eyes IV. The Offensive Trap V. The Prestige Trap VI. The Attritional Trap VII. The Nightmare VIII. Rancor IX. Warning Signals X. Enemies XI. Circles of Loyalty Epilogue Appendix Acknowledgments Bibliography

About the Author

Paul Jankowski is Raymond Ginger Professor of History at Brandeis University. His many books include Stavinksy: A Confidence Man in the Republic of Virtue and Shades of Indignation: Political Scandals in France, Past and Present.


"[Jankowski] has written what certainly must stand as the most definitive history of the World War I Battle of Verdun...In this majestically crafted book, the author exposes many of the myths about the battle that have developed over a century of narrative. He demonstrates an exceptional mastery of sources and method, as he mined the German as well as the French primary sources, and is equally adept at both traditional military history and the new social history that, until recently, dominated the enterprise...By exploring all the connections between what happened on the battlefield and its impact and legacy, Jankowski compellingly illuminates the complex interaction of myth and reality built up over time concerning the Battle of Verdun."--Army History "Brilliant." --Los Angeles Review of Books "The horrors have been described often and elaborately, but Mr. Jankowski is skillful enough that his accounts still provoke." --Wall Street Journal "One of its foremost virtues is to brush aside the insistence of modern folklore.... that Verdun imposed on its participants horrors unprecedented in history." --Max Hastings, The Sunday Times "Jankowski recognizes the significance of the battle that Maurice Genevoix, a French novelist and World War I veteran, was said to have called 'the battle-symbol of the entire 1914-1918 war...' He relies heavily on the memoirs, journals and letters of those who were present during the battle to complete his work." --Army magazine "Jankowski has written a superb, definitive popular account of Verdun through the eyes of soldiers, military leaders, and citizens of the two nations." --Publishers Weekly "Jankowski's revisionist book is a major achievement...The writing throughout is of the highest order... At every stage, Jankowski integrates the military narrative with broader political and cultural dimensions... Jankowski's book offers a model history of warfare." --Philip Jenkins, Books & Culture "Paul Jankowski's Verdun is a great book, truly a masterwork of modern literature. On a much studied event (25 percent of all the many French books on World War I have been about the battle of Verdun), he has given us a work of rare originality and creativity. And he has done it with old fashioned virtues of grace and refinement. This is not only a new interpretation of a major subject. It is also a new model of how history might be written on many subjects." --David Hackett Fischer "This fine book straddles two generations of writing on the Great War. It is a superb account of the unfolding of the battle from the viewpoint of the commanders, and a moving narrative of the tenacity of small groups of men pushed beyond the limits of human endurance." --Jay Winter, Yale University "Paul Jankowski provides a balanced, scholarly account of the pivotal Battle of Verdun. Within a smoothly flowing narrative, he highlights critical themes in both traditional military history and the social history of warfare. This book is a first-stop source for students of the First World War, and a superb survey of what arguably stands the greatest battle in human history." --Edward G. Lengel, author of To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918 "Paul Jankowski's Verdun is the first major study of the battle to appear in English for many years, and the first to draw fully on archival research on both sides. Jankowski presents a thoughtful, original, and moving account, full of insights into the course of the fighting and its subsequent commemoration and impact." --David Stevenson, author of Cataclysm:The First World War as Political Tragedy and With our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918

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