By 1918 the British had mastered a new kind of industrial warfare, the nature of which no one had understood in 1914, and which, with tanks and aircraft, heavy artillery and integrated arms, tipped the balance against defensive trench warfare and played the decisive role in the final victory.
Such a thesis is at loggerheads with the idea of the war as futile butchery (and of Haig as the British butcher) that is summed up by the interwar "literature of disenchantment" (Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen) and expressed, for most people nowadays, by Owen's haunting poetry. Yet the military historians, to their chagrin, feel that they have lost this battle and that Owen's "pity of war" vision commands popular perceptions of the conflict.
Perhaps Hart's book will contribute to a sea change in our understanding of the war during the years of the centenary. It has a lot to recommend it in this regard. Much of the "revisionist" British military history has been written in a narrowly national framework, whereas the fighting in the two world wars was, by definition, transnational and has to be explained as such, not least regarding the "enemy"