I have always considered Osprey Publishing the gateway drug for the hobby. Normally you hear of the period from a friend or a TV show and the next thing you do is see if there is an Osprey to cover the period. It is even easier now with eBooks. More often than not there is at least one book dealing with the subject. Now they also offer rules and longer histories. Making it an cinch to find what you need to get started.
Recently I picked up as an eBook Home Before the Leaves Fall by Ian Senior. For me this has become my gateway drug for the initial invasion period on the Western Front. While I have had an interest in the Action at Néry this small action was a side interest of mine compared with the sideshows in Africa and Middle East.
Ian has done a great deal in covering the background for the German invasion of France. He early on sets the stage covering the different operational plans designed by the French and Germans (Funny, the British were allies for over a year but there addition seemed to be an after thought on the part of the French). Their plans while try to cover most contingencies were not able to offer the needed knock out blow.
We learn of the different uses both sides had for their Reserve Corps and that German and Britain both held back divisions to protect their respective coasts (A third of the BEF was assigned to guard against a possible invasion of the east coast of England).
The engagements are done in great detail, covering most of the significant battles leading up to the Marne. These battles with the exception of Mons are French and German affairs. The author treats the BEF as a minor factor in the greater campaign.
What are treated in great detail are the personal conflicts between the generals. French, British and German generals almost fought with as much vigor amongst themselves as they did their adversaries.
My only major fault with the book is the lack of detailed maps of the engagements and how the military units were identified in the text. Often I was not sure if a Corps or Regiment was French or German. It would have helped to have one side in italics and the other bold to make it easier for the reader.
So now I have on my painting bench German Jaegers, waiting to take on the British Tommies and French Poilu.
I will continue to review at least one product, be it book, rules or miniatures that deal with The Great War per week over the next year. That way it keeps we reading, and writing. I currently do not take any products that I am reviewing. These are of an interest to me and so I have purchased them. Not that I would turn them down. If I receive complementary products I will state so in the review.