The popular image of the First World War is dominated by two misconceptions. The first holds that the war was an exercise in futility in which incompetent upper class generals callously sacrificed an entire generation of young men to no good purpose. The second holds that the debate about British strategic policy during the First World War was a gladiatorial contest between 'brass hats' (generals), and 'frock coats' (politicians). Historians, denied access for too long to the contemporary records of the private deliberations of policy-makers, had been forced to follow both interpretations. David French challenges this orthodoxy and suggests that the policy-makers were united in trying to relate strategic policy to a carefully considered set of war aims. His challenging conclusion is that the policy-makers never lost sight of their goal, which was to ensure that Britain fought the war at an acceptable cost and emerged from it with its security enhanced against both its enemies and its allies.