Translated from the French, this cool analysis of France's first great victory in World War I mixes some biting character portraits with the abstract logic of tactics and strategy which defeated the Germans. Despite Liddell Hart's report to the contrary, General Joffre remains the key to the victory and not General Gallieni. Early faced with a crushing disaster, Joffre, ""owing to a blunted sensibility and a total lack of imagination,"" ate and slept with complete composure while ignoring the anguish of his troops. This battle was the last of WWI to be fought out in the manner of Napoleon. The great psychological victory was that the Germans finally were proven not to be invincible. Due to several gaffes in communication, the British allies appeared to the French to be vacillating, unhelpful and even cowardly, an image from which they never fully recovered in the French general's opinion. (Actually the small British army which was supporting the French left flank, fell back to avoid encirclement.) Isselin sees the German generals succumbing to arrogance and mediocrity at high command level, though some are singled out for praise. The winning factor seems to have been that Joffre surrounded himself by more competent men while distrusting any formal system. Isselin rises above a partisan French view of the battle and subjects all participants to an equally critical eye while assuming no absolutely final attitudes.