This book epitomises everything that was most terrible about the Western Front. What happened at Passchendaele was the expression of the wearing-down war, the war of pure attrition at its most spectacular and ferocious. This four-month battle, fought from July to November 1917, the worst year of the war: blackened tree stumps rising out of a field of mud, corpses of men and horses drowned in shell holes, terrified soldiers huddled in trenches awaiting the whistle. This book tells the story of ordinary men in the grip of a political and military power struggle that determined their fate and has foreshadowed the destiny of the world for a century. This book lays down a powerful challenge to the idea of war as an inevitable expression of the human will, and examines the culpability of governments and military commanders in a catastrophe that destroyed the best part of a generation.