Russia’s Last Gasp
The Eastern Front 1916-17
Osprey Publishing, New York, 2016, 496 pages
Book Review published on: May 19, 2017
Prit Buttar’s Russia’s Last Gasp is his third book in a series about the war on the Eastern Front in World War I. He has presented a comprehensive study at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of the events that framed the fighting in 1916 and early 1917 for the Russian, German, and Austro-Hungarian armies and affected the countries of Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. The author provides a through description and discussion of the fighting that occurred on the Eastern Front and the political considerations that drove that fighting during this timeframe.
As with his previous books on World War I, Germany Ascendant and Collision of Empires, he takes a complex and detailed series of events from this period and explains them in a way that any reader can come away with a clear understanding of what occurred during this very trying time in European history. His discussion of the Brusilov’s Offensive, the Romanian campaign, and the events that led to the overthrow of the Russian czar are among the most comprehensive I have read in some time.
For the military reader, Russia’s Last Gasp is a necessary and relevant source to begin the process of understanding the complexity of modern warfare on a continental scale at all levels of war. It is not a narrative of just the fighting; it is a comprehensive study of policy, strategy, and fighting at a level of detail most books on World War I in particular, or military history in general, do not go into. This detailed discussion will educate and develop leaders to recognize many of the issues present in modern warfare and the need for adaptation to meet the challenges of major combat operations.
Book Review written by: Lt. Col. Jeffrey L. LaFace, U.S. Army, Retired, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas