In May 1915 the long and bloody Second Battle of Ypres gained notoriety for the participants’ use of poison gas, the first time the weapon had been used in battle. With both sides realizing the importance of victory in Ypres, moral considerations were set aside. Although other, more costly battles of World War I have often overshadowed the Second Battle of Ypres despite the unprecedented use of gas in the latter, that battle now receives an examination commensurate with its significance.
In Trial by Gas, George H. Cassar focuses on the conflict’s second half: the battles at Frezenberg Ridge and Bellewaarde Ridge, both of which were fought primarily by British units, taking the reader inside the trenches and behind the desks of those making the decisions. Cassar’s intimate account offers an accurate, clear, and complete chronicle of a battle with a remarkably enduring impact despite its indecisive outcome.
GEORGE H. CASSAR is a professor of history at Eastern Michigan University. He is the author of a dozen books, including Hell in Flanders Fields: Canadians at the Second Battle of Ypres and Lloyd George at War, 1916–1918.
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is historian Christopher Clark’s riveting account of the explosive beginnings of World War I.
Drawing on new scholarship, Clark offers a fresh look at World War I, focusing not on the battles and atrocities of the war itself, but on the complex events and relationships that led a group of well-meaning leaders into brutal conflict.
Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts between the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, and examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914 and details the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that drove the crisis forward in a few short weeks.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers is a dramatic and authoritative chronicle of Europe’s descent into a war that tore the world apart.
In this new, deeply researched account, the distinguished military historian George H. Cassar skillfully blends into the history of the battle the graphic and moving words of the men on the front line. Illustrated with outstanding photographs and numerous maps, and drawing from diaries, letters, and documents from every level of planning, Hell in Flanders Fields is an authoritative, gripping drama of politics, strategy, and human courage.