Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Best Books on the Great War in the Balkans: A Reading List

Contributed by Historian Richard C. Hall

Dr. Richard C. Hall is Professor of History at Georgia Southwestern State University. He has written prolifically about the Balkan theater. His latest work include: Consumed by War: European Conflict in the 20th Century &The Modern Balkans: A History

1. Flight in Winter

John C. Adams. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1942. This is a dated but still riveting history of the harrowing Serbian retreat across the Albanian Alps in 1915 and 1916 after the Austro-Bulgarian-German assault.

2. The Road to Sarajevo

Vladimir Dedijer. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1966. Although in need of an update, this is the classic account of the steps leading to the Sarajevo assassination of 28 June 1914.

3. The Politics of Diplomacy: Britain and France in the Balkans in the First World War

David Dutton. London: Tauris, 1998. An academic study of the intricacies of the British-French relations during the First World War, this book provides details on the difficulties of coalition warfare.

4. Military Operations – Macedonia

Cyril Falls. Nashville: Battery Press: 1996, 2 vols. First published in 1935, this book remains the definitive account of the British effort on the Macedonian Front during World War I.

5. Balkan Breakthrough, the Battle of Dobo Pole, 1918

Richard C. Hall. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press 2010. An overview of the Bulgarian effort during the First World War and the specifics of the decisive battle that knocked Bulgaria out of the war ending the fighting in the Balkans in 1918.

6. The Balkan Wars 1912-1913, Prelude to the First World War

Richard C. Hall, London: Routledge, 2000. Examines the background to the fighting that ended in July 1913, sputtered off and on for a year, and then reignited for another four years.

7. Greece and the First World War: From Neutrality to Intervention 1917–1918

George B. Leontaritis. Boulder: East European Monographs, 1990. The complicated course of Greek politics during the First World War is presented here in an academic context.

8. Serbia’s Great War, 1914–1918

Andrej Mitrovic. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2007. A comprehensive account of the economic, military and political issues that Serbia faced during the First World War. (Translated from the Serbian.)

9. The Gardeners of Salonika

Alan Palmer. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965. Palmer presents a commanding accountof the Macedonian Front 1915–1918, primarily from the Entente perspective.

10. Armies in the Balkans 1914–18

Nigel Thomas and Dusan Babac. Botley, Oxford: Osprey, 2001. Good details on the national militaries active in the Balkans during the First World War.

11.  Romania and World War I

Glenn E. Torrey. Iasi: Center for Romanian Studies, 1998. Essays on Romania’s initially disastrous and ultimately triumphal participation in World War I.

Originally presented in the Fall 2011 issue of The Journal of the World War One Historical Society


  1. Another book worth reading about the British in Macedonia is "Under The Devil's Eye" by Alan Wakefield and Simon Moody

  2. Very good list!

    Can I add The Romanian Battlefront in World War I, by Glenn E. Torrey?

  3. Thanks for this list, food for thought!

  4. Very grateful for the reading list, as the Balksns have always been a challenge for me.