An impassioned book which changed the way we think about the Western Front – a controversial classic.
On 26 September 1915 twelve British battalions - a strength of almost 10,000 men - were ordered to attack German positions at Loos in north-east France. In the three-and-a-half hours of the actual battle, they sustained 8,246 casualties. The Germans suffered no casualties at all.
The Donkeys is a study of the Western Front on 1915, a brilliant exposé of a key stage of the Great War, when the opposing armies were locked in trench warfare. Alan Clark scrutinizes the major battles of the year. He casts a steady and revealing light on those in High Command - French, Rawlinson, Watson and Haig among them- whose orders resulted in the virtual destruction of the odd professional British Army.
“A shell-burst of a book”
“An eloquent and painful book... Clark leaves the impression that vanity and stupidity were the main ingredients of the massacres of 1915. He writes searingly and unforgettably”
George Malcolm Thomson, Evening Standard
“Mr Clark writes with verve, venom and real feeling for the men whose lives the brasshats squandered”
Paul Johnson, New Statesman
“So far from being "just another war book" that it is likely to be bought and read for years to come”
Vernon Fane, Sphere
“He is a writer with considerable gifts both of description and narrative. His subject gives them plenty of scope; indeed his descriptions of battles and battlefields are sometimes masterly”
Michael Howard, Listener