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This is the first account in English of a much-overlooked, but important, First World War battlefront located in the mountains astride the border between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Not well known in the West, the battles of Isonzo were nevertheless ferocious, and compiled a record of bloodletting that totaled over 1.75 million for both sides. In sharp contrast to claims that neither the Italian nor the Austrian armies were viable fighting forces, Schindler aims to bring the terrible sacrifices endured by both armies back to their rightful place in the history of 20th century Europe. The Habsburg Empire, he contends, lost the war for military and economic reasons rather than for political or ethnic ones. Schindler's account includes references to remarkable personalities such as Mussolini; Tito; Hemingway; Rommel, and the great maestro Toscanini. This Alpine war had profound historical consequences that included the creation of the Yugoslav state, the problem of a rump Austrian state looking to Germany for leadership, and the traumatic effects on a generation of young Italian men who swelled the ranks of the fascists. After nearly a century, Isonzo can assume its proper place in the ranks of the tragic Great War clashes, alongside Verdun, the Somme, and Passchendaele.
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The first complete account of the epic struggle between the Austrian and Italian armies along the Isonzo River during the First World War.

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction The Road to War Italia irredenta A Hopeless Struggle 1915 "The Hour of the Triumph of the Finest Values" The Battle of Monte San Michele Materielschlacht: Assembly-Line War "The Superior is Always Right, Especially When He is Wrong" 1916 A So-Called Battle The Battle of Gorizia The Triumph of Attrition 1917 A Hundred Thousand Shells an Hour Bainsizza Breakthrough Caporetto 1918 An Italian Renaissance "Austria is in your Camp" Epilogue Since Then The Battlefield Today Maps Placenames Essay on Sources Bibliography

About the Author

John R. Schindler, a historian specializing in Modern European and Military History, is a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and Adjunct Professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His research interests include multiethnic states and ideologies, military theory, and the history of intelligence. He holds three degrees in history: a BA and MA from the University of Massachusetts and a PhD from McMaster University. His writings have won numerous awards and have taken him to several countries.


"His accuracy and attention to detail will impress readers who have traveled in the region. . . . Schindler's work is worthwhile reading for anyone with an interest in the First World War." - The Journal of Military History "Isonzo is a must read for those interested in World War I, modern Italian history, or the Hapsburg Army." - The New York Military Affairs Symposium Newsletter "The first definitive English-language account of WWI's just-about-forgotten epic clash between Italy and Austria-Hungary. The dozen battles fought in the Isonzo valley stand out for the scale of their slaughter, cruelty, courage, and ghastly military-command pigheadedness in the face of failure." - Steve Forbes, in ^IForbes^R magazine "Schindler provides a vivid, compelling narrative of some of the most appalling fighting of the entire war. . . . [T]he book meets a real need for a modern, English-language account of Italy's major effort in the war. The most appalling fighting of the entire war. . . . [T]he book meets a real need for a modern, English-language account of Italy's major effort in the war. Of greatest interest to specialists and graduate students." - Choice

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