Books: Blood & Mud

IN FLANDERS FIELDS (308 pp.)—Leon Wolff—Viking ($5).

Along with Sir Douglas Haig, British commander in chief during World War I, mud is the villain of this excellent book. It deals mostly with the British campaign around Ypres ("Wipers" to the troops) in 1917, when British soldiers learned on Belgian soil the dread military truth uttered by Napoleon: "God—besides water, air, earth and fire—has created a fifth element—mud!"

Author Leon Wolff, a World War II airman, draws a memorable picture of stiff, inarticulate Field Marshal Haig, who racked up about 450,000 British casualties (some 150.000...