'The Gardeners of Salonika' as Clemenceau contemptuously labelled them, could well be called the forgotten army of the First World War. Yet the Macedonian Campaign was, in Lord Hankey's words, 'the most controversial of all the so-called sideshows.' In his definitive The First World War (1999) Sir John Keegan hailed Alan Palmer for having written 'the best study of the Macedonian Front in English.'
Palmer tells the story of this extraordinary polyglot army (it included, at various times, contingents from seven countries) from the first landing at Salonika in 1915 to the peace in 1918. He also illuminates the political and strategic background: the ceaseless argument in London and Paris over the army's future and the maze of Greek politics within which it and its commanders were enclosed.
'A masterly and colourful account of this, the most controversial and neglected sideshow of them all.'Guardian
'Not only a valuable contribution to history, but also an enthralling book' Sunday Times
|Publisher:||Faber and Faber|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||3 MB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Alan Palmer was head of History at Highgate School, London for nineteen years before retiring early to concentrate on historical writing and research. He is the author of more than three dozen works: narrative histories; biographies; historical dictionaries ir reference books. His main interests are in the Napoleonic era, nineteenth century diplomacy, the First World War and Eastern Europe, although his Northern Shores is a history of the Baltic Sea and its peoples from earliest times to 2004. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1980.
Of Alan Palmer, Sir John Keegan has written, ' Alan Palmer writes the sort of history that dons did before ''accessible'' became an academic insult. It is cool, rational, scholarly, literate.'
Faber Finds is reissuing a number of his titles: Alexander I, The Gardeners of Salonika, The Chancelleries of Europe, The East End, The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire, The Lands Between, Metternich, Twilight of the Habsburgs.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is almost impossible to find, but I finally located it online after searching several times for it. The book is mostly based on official sources and seems to present a somewhat sanitized version of events. Its chapters cover: the early war plans, the arrival of the Allied soldiers on neutral (and vaguely hostile) soil, the miseries of Salonika's winters, political maneuverings in France and the UK involving Salonika, the 1916 battle for Monastir, political maneuverings in Greece, the failed 1917 spring offensive, the hunt for terrorist cells in the Serbian army, the mutiny of Russian units, the largely-British malarial sufferings, Sarrail's fall from power, Guillaumat's short reign, Franchet d'Esperey's arrival, the final (and successful) September 1918 offensive, the breakout to Belgrade/Sofia/Constantinople, and finally the veterans' coping with the jibes and jokes and neglect of their sacrifices in this forgotten corner of Europe. The main question for the Allies regarding the Salonika expedition was always, 'Will fighting in the Balkans lead to the defeat of the Central Powers?' The author's conclusion is a qualified no. The real decision came on the Western Front with Ludendorf's nervous breakdown and request for an armistice. Once the other Central Powers got wind of Germany's desire to seek peace, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire all immediately lost their will to fight and urgently sought peace. But the Salonika army did help in securing peace with Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire by providing a very real and immediate threat in their continuing the war. Realistically, though, the Salonika 'Armies of the Orient' would never pose a serious threat to the two main Central Powers. This is one of the VERY FEW general histories of the Salonika front. It has a few maps, but not enough and even these lack adequate detail. There are also some interesting photos. Happily, there is a thorough discussion of the bibliographical sources and a careful listing of them. Overall, this is a fairly standard account of the most unconventional front of the war. It does a good job of analyzing the Allied leaders involved in the campaign.