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Playing the Game: The British Junior Infantry Officer on the Western Front 1914-18 (Helion Studies in Military History) - Hardcover

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9781906033842: Playing the Game: The British Junior Infantry Officer on the Western Front 1914-18 (Helion Studies in Military History)
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The British Army expanded significantly during the First World War, creating a huge demand for new officers to lead the infantry through the horrors and privations of trench warfare. Thousands of civilians accepted commissions with little or no previous military experience, and success on the Western Front depended to a large extent on their ability to learn new skills and responsibilities quickly. This book examines the lives and careers of these junior infantry officers, focusing especially on the transition from civilian to soldier. It does so by looking particularly at the young men who volunteered in the early stages of the war having only recently left either public school or university. Products of Edwardian society, they reflected prevailing military opinions about the importance of entrusting command to 'gentlemen'. Once in the army, they continued to draw on traditional ideas, habits and practices to make sense of their new roles and surroundings but, faced with an unprecedented type of modern warfare, they also rapidly gained military knowledge and experience. The synthesis of these various influences gave junior infantry officers a distinctive character amongst the many voices of the First World War. This book follows their transition and the creation of this identity though its different stages, beginning with an exploration of the educational and social backgrounds which moulded the young men of 1914, creating their habits, traditions, expectations and familiar activities. It examines a series of formative experiences, including obtaining a commission, training, travelling abroad, visiting the trenches and coming under fire. Once on active service, officers learned how to perform their duties in the field, cope with the rigours of trench life and work alongside the various personalities who populated the front. Their social lives and activities are also scrutinised. The book concludes with an examination of the psychological challenges encountered on the Western Front, exploring the ways in which traditional concepts of heroism and a soldierly identity were remoulded in the face of an industrialised and impersonal war.

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Review:
... this is a groundbreaking work; a detailed examination of the platoon and company commanders who had to make the plans of their seniors work. It is scholarly but immensely readable ... an essential addition to the library of any military historian, whether professional or interested amateur. --Gordon Corrigan, author of Mud, Blood and Poppycock: Britain and the Great War and The Second World War - A Military History

A valuable contribution to our knowledge of the British Army in the First World War. --Dr Stephen Badsey, University of Wolverhampton

The strength of Moore-Bick's work is that it is accessible to the enthusiast as well as to the academic; thankfully, the familiar subjects are covered succinctly and freshly, including a lot of original research alongside discussion of the conclusions that other researchers have drawn. --Birmingham 'On War' - the unofficial blog of the War Studies research students at the University of Birmingham

Playing the Game is an ambitious work, and succeeds in ... taking a novel view of leadership in the Great War. --Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research
About the Author:
Christopher Moore-Bick was educated at Winchester College. It was here that he gained his (to date limited) military experience as a member of the Royal Marine detachment of the school's Combined Cadet Force, also serving for a period as Lord Lieutenant's Cadet for Hampshire. He read history at Christ's College, Cambridge, concentrating on modern British, European and colonial topics including the culture of the two World Wars, intelligence in the 20th Century, and Kenyan independence. Graduating in 2001, he stayed in Cambridge until 2004 to research and write his postgraduate theses on the experiences and culture of First World War officers. During this time he also did some undergraduate teaching on the early decades of modern British intelligence. In 2005 he started working for the Ministry of Defence. He is married and lives in London.

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  • PublisherHelion & Company Ltd
  • Publication date2011
  • ISBN 10 1906033846
  • ISBN 13 9781906033842
  • BindingHardcover
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages328
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