This book does not mess about. It tells the story of the fighting on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918, just like it says on the tin. It offers a proudly traditional military history, from the opening skirmishes, through the titanic clashes of the Marne and Verdun, the Somme and Ypres, on to the often overlooked Allied sweep to victory of the Hundred Days. It describes what happened when, where and why. There is no discussion of why the war was fought in the first place or of what the men thought they were fighting for. The war here, as it was for that generation, is simply an inescapable fact. We learn enough about the political context and manoeuvring in London, Paris and Berlin to explain events on the battlefield, but no more.