Verdun was the pre-eminent defensive battle of the Great War - and perhaps of all time. The historic town on the River Meuse, which the French held against furious German assaults for ten bloody months in 1916 - was surrounded by two rings of interconnected forts, ranging from the ermous Fort Douaumont to tiny casemates. But during the first two years of the war, the fighting passed Verdun by, and the forts were stripped of much of their armament. As a result, when the Germans launched their devastating offensive in February 1916, the carefully constructed defences collapsed, and Douaumont and other forts fell. Neil J. Wells has written an ermously detailed and fascinating study of the integrated defences of Verdun that explains the character of the atrocious battle. He traces the planning of the town's defences in the 1870s - the decade following France's humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. He then describes the building of the Forts in the 1880s; and the modifications made in the decade leading up to the outbreak of war in 1914. Wells' book - an original publication of the Naval & Military Press - is illustrated by many black and whit photographs, and detailed diagrams of the forts and their ordnance, along with maps showing their location. It is an indispensable work for anyone interested in the Great War, and in 19th and 20th century military techlogy - especially the defensive mentality that continued to dominate French strategic thinking up to the Magit Line and beyond.