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1914-1918: The History of the First World War

1914-1918: The History of the First World War [Kindle Edition]

David Stevenson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Product Description


' the most thorough account of the war human hand has yet assembled' -- Sunday Times, September 2004

'Stevenson is as sane and sure a guide as the discriminating reader will find' -- Telegraph, 4th September, 2003

'this history of the 1914-1918 conflict surpasses all others. It is tough, erudit and comprehensive' -- Independent, 3rd September, 2004

Product Description

1914-1918, David Stevenson's history of the First World War, has been acclaimed as the definitive one-volume account of the conflict

In the summer of 1914 Europe exploded into a frenzy of mass violence. The war that followed had global repercussions, destroying four empires and costing millions of lives. Even the victorious countries were scarred for a generation, and we still today remain within the conflict's shadow. In this major analysis David Stevenson re-examines the causes, course and impact of this 'war to end war', placing it in the context of its era and exposing its underlying dynamics. His book provides a wide-ranging international history, drawing on insights from the latest research. It offers compelling answers to the key questions about how this terrible struggle unfolded: questions that remain disturbingly relevant for our own time.

'It's harder to imagine a better single-volume comprehensive history of the conflict than this superb study' Ian Kershaw

'Perhaps the best comprehensive one-volume history of the war yet written' New Yorker

'David Stevenson is the real deal ... His defining characteristic is his outstanding rigour as an historian ... tremendously clever' Niall Ferguson

'This history of the 1914-1918 conflict surpasses all others. It is tough, erudite and comprehensive' Independent

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4100 KB
  • Print Length: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (2 Sep 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9PPE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,076 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an accidental war... 4 Jan 2009
If you think that the European powers stumbled into the Great War by accident; that the generals were numbskulls who learned nothing from the slaughter on the Somme or at Verdun; or that the sudden collapse of Germany in 1918 owed little to British and French efforts, then read this book and think again.

This is a superb history of World War One, clearly written and comprehensive in its scope. Stevenson is clear that the origins of the war were not accidental. Politicians on both sides had choices and they chose war or the threat of war as preferable to the alternatives. In particular Austria-Hungary and Germany wanted a war in the Balkans and were willing to risk its escalation into a general European war.

This isn't a purely military history, although there are enough military details to understand why in the central years of the war defence usually prevailed over attack and neither side was able to achieve a decisive breakthrough on the Western Front. Stephenson shows how military tactics evolved on both sides and while the new weapons of tanks, gas and aircraft played a part, the decisive innovations were in the co-ordination of artillery with infantry.

Stevenson shows how the Allies were able to mobilise their greater economic resources and enforce the blockade of Germany and translate these into a military superiority that was able to absorb the Ludendorff offensives in early 1918 and then break the German resistance in Flanders. In this, the repeated willingness of Germany to risk all on further military initiatives brought about its own defeat. The decision to adopt unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917 brought the USA into the war. The 1918 offensives broke the German army while ultimately failing to break the Allies.

This is an impressive book that changed my views on the origins and conduct of the war.
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86 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read ... 28 Feb 2006
I thought this a magnificent book. Its 600 pages are written in crystal clear English, covering the political, economic and military aspects of the War. The major campaigns of this global conflict are all well described, as is life on the home fronts of the Allies and the Central Powers. The origins are well described, while the chapters on the aftermath are particularly helpful. I recommend it strongly to those wishing to read a comprehensive history of the conflict for the first time, while those who have read other works on the War will find many new perspectives here. This book is superb value.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER
This was the first serious book on WWI that I read. It should be made clear, as I think another reviewer bemoans, that this is not a chronological military history, but rather a 'meta'-historical account that examines the war from various perspectives running orthogonal to the timeline. So we come to understand the social, economic, industrial and political dimensions of the war.

I give it five stars because it exploded so many of the pre-conceptions I had held about the war. In the 60s & 70s when I was doing my O-level history at school the wisdom imparted was that WWI was a misery inflicted upon the masses by an uncaring ruling class. I now understand that none of the belligerent populations (with the complex exception of Russia) would have tolerated capitulation by their governments. I learned how Lloyd George as minister of munitions transformed Britain's munitions industry (that was making more duds than effectives) from a haphazard and rather ineffectual club of gentleman industrialists into a unified system of mass production that put Britain back into the fight. We learn about decisive technological and strategic failures and the decisive strategic and technological successes.

One of the most interesting chapters is the final one that deals with the history of Germany's war guilt. Once more the wisdom taught in my schooldays was that Germany was the unequivocal villain in the whole tragedy. But we find in this chapter that there was a long and complex story that lead up to Germany accepting this mantle that was actually encouraged by its more straightforward culpability for WWII. And that the story might yet take another twist as modern Germany starts to examine the origins afresh.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
It's hard work reading this book. It's over 600 closely-typed pages long and it can be daunting to turn a page and be met with such dense text and hardly a break. However, I found myself engrossed nearly all the time.

As other reviewers have mentioned, this books deals witht the war mainly at a strategic and political level. It's not always easy to follow and I could have easily gone back and re-read bits a few times, but I decided not to do that. Having finished the book, I may have trouble recalling parts in detail for example, what Ludendorff and Hindenburg's titles were, and I'd have to look them up in the index and re-read, but I also feel that I've learnt a significant amount about this war. I feel well-placed now to either read other books, re-read this book, view DVDs or read about the Second World War.

The First World War was a collosal event and I'm sure reading one book doesn't do it justice but there is no doubt in my mind that my understanding has taken a leap forward!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased with the choice
Wanted a bok that could cover this subject.
Very pleased with the choice, and a good read.
Published 28 days ago by Diane54
4.0 out of 5 stars This is great for anyone studying the WW1
This is great for anyone studying the WW1, it begins in Sarayevo but is mostly about the political side of the war, not about the military side.
Published 29 days ago by T Dowers
5.0 out of 5 stars This should be a must read for everyone especially those at the top...
This has to be one of the best books on WW1 that has been written, it deals with the history but concentrates more on the circumastances for the start of the war and Britain... Read more
Published 1 month ago by ger
5.0 out of 5 stars Most intersting read
I haven't finished reading it yet but so far it has been most informative. Provides a clear insight into WW1.
Published 1 month ago by Henry Crun
3.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative but complex and a heavy read
Very authoritative and complete, but a *very* hard read. Long complex and convoluted events explained in a long complex and convoluted manner. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cairnwilliam
3.0 out of 5 stars I need another book
Beliigerents' governmental permutations in the Great War of Lloyd George leading the British Empire against German imperialism in the Flanders, the east front notwithstanding, with... Read more
Published 1 month ago by johanssoen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Easy to read detailed history
Published 2 months ago by mark jessup
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Was a little difficult to follow but still a good read
Published 2 months ago by Elizabeth R
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
i just like all world war one books
Published 2 months ago by Stan T.
1.0 out of 5 stars A highly enjoyable read. Full of so much information ...
A highly enjoyable read. Full of so much information. To anyone who has no or little knowledge of this conflict, a must read.
Published 3 months ago by Mr William A. Mackie
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