Monday, June 3

Review of Rachel Duffett’s The Stomach for Fighting: Food and the Soldiers of the Great War


Hope you liked the omelette of last night. Perhaps too many greens in there but have them son, it gives you a nice high protein diet with tons of vitamins and minerals. 

This is a great book review about food. Food for soldiers. Remember I told you the quote? Amateurs talk about tactics. Professionals talk about logistics. In whichever field of work son, you have to have a firm grasp of logistics. Most activities are won or lost due to logistics. In the business world as well. That's what is going to give you the reputation of competence. As and how you rise through the ranks, your job is to ensure that men materials and money are available in the right time at the right place at the right amounts. Alexander said, if I lose a battle I come back and kill my logistician. 

Details son details. That's the key. Think of the logistics of feeding a million soldiers in the middle of wartime. 



Canadian Military History – Review of Rachel Duffett’s The Stomach for Fighting: Food and the Soldiers of the Great War by Matthew Walthert

Rachel Duffett, The Stomach for Fighting: Food and the Soldiers of the Great War (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012). 269 pages.

Reviewed by Matthew Walthert (Carleton University)

Anyone who has studied the First World War has read about the food. Complaints about bully beef, alternate uses for rock-hard biscuits, and generals fattening themselves behind the lines while the troops suffered from ration shortages at the front are common features of many Great War histories. Despite these oft-repeated stories, the enlisted man’s relationship with his food (official ration and otherwise) has not been the subject of a scholarly, book-length study, until now. Using the diaries and memoirs of the rank-and-file soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), Rachel Duffett has put together a detailed review of ordinary soldiers’ experiences with food on the Western Front.

In The Stomach for Fighting, Duffett exposes truisms –  such as the enlisted men having better diets in the military than in pre-war, working-class England – which have crept out of sometimes self-congratulatory official statistics and histories, or overly-optimistic army ration scales. In The Last Great War, Adrian Gregory explored some of these clichés, particularly as they related to the British home front. Here, Duffett turns to the actual soldiers, whose caloric needs were being met, but were often less-than-thrilled with their food. Using a variety of published and unpublished letters, diaries and memoirs, she breaks new ground in looking not only at what (and how much) enlisted men ate, but also their reactions to their food.

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