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Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War [Kindle Edition]

Robert K. Massie
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)

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    Product Description

    Review

    "History at its best, a fantastic mix of anecdote, observation and intelligent thinking" (Dan Snow Daily Express)

    "Massie tells the story with controlled energy and attention to detail, especially human detail. It has not been told so well before." (Literary Review)

    "He has the supreme gift of making history live in simple, readable language." (Observer)

    "Inheritor of Barbara Tuchman's mantle as the English-speaking world's pre-eminent popular historian...Robert K. Massie has now turned his attention to the arms race between Britain and Germany c.1890-1914, the most important precipitant towards the outbreak of the First World War." (Frank McLynn)

    "This is a book you are bound to enjoy. The set pieces - the naval review of June 1897, the Jameson Raid, The Kaiser's visit to Windsor, Winston Churchill visiting the fleet, "the spring of the panther" - are dramatically recreated. The pen portraits of the political and naval establishments of Wilhelmine Germany and Victorian and Edwardian Britain are brilliantly evoked with a sharp eye for the memorable detail...Massie keeps his complex story under tight control...Monographers like myself can only envy the sheer sweep of Dreadnought and the author's rich palette of colours so deftly applied. Like Barbara Tuchman's Guns of August this is narrative history at its very best. Financial Times" (Financial Times)

    Product Description

    From colonial disputes, secret treaties with former foes, high-wire diplomacy, and tit-for-tat building of the terrifyingly powerful dreadnought battleships. DREADNOUGHT is a dramatic re-creation of the diplomatic and military brinkmanship that preceded, and made inevitable, the outbreak of the first world war.

    Massie brings to vivid life such historical figures as the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz, the young, ambitious, Winston Churchill, the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow, and many others. The relationship between Queen Victoria and Kaiser Wilhelm is particularly intriguing. Wilhelm's admiration, and even envy, for everything British, was to play an important part in the events to come. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tragedy in his powerful narrative. Intimately human and dramatic, DREADNOUGHT is history at its most riveting.


    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 4122 KB
    • Print Length: 1040 pages
    • Publisher: Head of Zeus (1 Sept. 2013)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00D5FOGL6
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,846 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars The slow march to the Great War 31 Jan. 2002
    By A Customer
    Format:Paperback
    Robert K. Massie clearly loves his subject, and this book is an enthusiastically-written history of the personalities, and technology, behind the steady drift of Europe to World War 1. The style is such that reading the book is like encountering a clubbable historian in your local pub. Some people may not like this method of writing, but I found it a refreshing change, and I enjoyed the anecdotes about some of the personalities, like Lord Salisbury entertaining a lunatic unawares, in his personal railway compartment. For a non-specialist but interested reader, like me, this book was an excellent read.
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    15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Meticulous Piece of Research 9 Oct. 2006
    Format:Paperback
    An initial glance at this may give the impression that it is simply about the development of the Dreadnought class of battleship and the arms race that followed their creation. This is an important issue in itself, but Massie covers much more. He provides the reader with a detailed account of relations between the great powers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and of much of the stubborness, short-sightedness and bumbling that almost accidentally led to the First World War. The book provides superb mini-biographies of key players, the Kaiser, Bismark, Asquith, the earlier years of WS Churchill and many others. For people studying international relations in that period, this is an excellent source of reference, even for those who are not specifically interested in the naval matters alone.
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    12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, informative and completely absorbing. 21 Mar. 2001
    Format:Paperback
    I am not usually quick to dive into huge volumes of political discussion, and came at this from the direction of naval history. Daunted initially by the book's size, I was quickly absorbed into one of the most fascinating accounts of World affairs I have yet encountered. It is studded with luminous pen-portraits of the personalities involved, and carries the reader briskly along with clear, rational exposition of momentous events and of smaller, often highly illuminating anecdotes. The book is not a great source with regard to naval architecture and engineering, but the student of those aspects must surely read this book in order properly to understand the context in which such huge technical advances were made in a mere 50 or 60 years. I cannot think how this account can be bettered, and cannot recommend it highly enough.
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    15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating political history 8 April 1999
    By A Customer
    Format:Paperback
    'Dreadnought' is a superb companion to any technical history of battleship development: it provides the essential political and even personal backdrop to the development and construction of these mighty ships.
    Massie touches lightly on specifics of armour and armament and propulsion, concentrating his formidable talents on the political and personal histories surrounding the Anglo-German naval arms race of the late 19th century and the events that led to World War 1.
    Massie brings the personalities to life, describing their backgrounds and showing how they reacted to and helped to shape the events of their time. With the men of the time so described, he explores how confusion, mutual distrust, antagonism, personal ambition and national pride dragged Europe into the morass of the First World War. He captures chillingly the popular and, in some cases, private enthusiasm for conflict.
    I found this book to be both enlightening and entertaining, and highly recommend it.
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    3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Dreadnought-The Perfect History 8 Oct. 2011
    Format:Paperback
    In this era of mass histories where a single brief event generates a hundred instant histories within a few weeks and twice as many reviews, it is difficult to discuss the immense scope of this book without sounding trite or descending to the usual polemic of Brilliant ...Astounding ...a Major Work, Five Stars.
    The problem is that Massie's book is all of those declamations and more, so what can I say? As social, technical, political and personal history of the era and characters that inspired the construction of the Dreadnought battleships and the modern naval fleet, it is well and truly beyond any other book dealing with even the single issues it encompasses. Massie writes in a modern narrative style that makes enjoyable reading and the stiff characters of history come to life as people and the flawed individuals that they where. Of course some are much more flawed than others and as we find, even dramatic heroes and striding visionary leaders have their darker sides that made them loathed and distrusted by their contemporaries.
    If you want a social explanation of the events leading up to the Great War this comes very close. As for the fascinating story of naval advances and how they affected the balance of power via the Twentieth century's first WMD's this is by far the finest account.
    Regards Gregory House

    Author of The Liberties of London
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    20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars A glorious waste 31 May 2005
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    A huge but amazingly readable account of the political manoeuvrings between Great Britain and Germany in the years leading up to WW1.
    There is much to recommend this book. It is brilliantly written and sustains the reader's attention through every one of its 900 or so pages. The portraits of the various characters are masterful and unforgettable, as are the writer's descriptions of the various set-pieces within his story. To take just one example, the portrayal of the Battle of Trafalgar, in the book's preface, is so superbly written as to almost qualify as poetry.
    However, having finished the book I was left with a number of grave doubts as to whether, apart from its entertainment value, reading it had been worthwhile.
    Most seriously, the final two chapters make it clear that war between Britain and Germany would almost certainly have occurred even had the Germans never built a single ship! This invalidates the author's main point; that the German Naval building programme (and the British response) was a major cause of the disaster that engulfed Europe in 1914.
    Secondly, the author's decision to treat the whole period purely in terms of the personalities and machinations of the leading statesmen is inexplicable. What were the effects of this massive Naval expenditure on the British and more particularly the German economies? Did the German decision to create such a large Navy waste resources that could have been spent making their land forces even stronger? (Given the narrow margin between victory and defeat in the land campaign of 1914, an extra 50,000 soldiers on the ground in France might have enabled the Germans to capture Paris, push the BEF back across the Chennel and win the war before Christmas.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars A warning if you are aiming to read it on a Kindle - I found this very...
    Detailed and wide ranging giving a vivid background to the events and personalities on all sides leading up to the First World War. Read more
    Published 1 hour ago by Tim Peacock
    5.0 out of 5 stars If you like naval history a good read
    An interesting and well researched book showing a lot of detail. If you like naval history a good read...
    Published 2 days ago by Mr. P. J. Howarth
    5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
    A thoroughly fascinating account of the coming of the great war and all the players of the times.
    The book is written in a most detailed and informative way making the reader... Read more
    Published 2 days ago by b frank
    5.0 out of 5 stars history for all...
    In this centenary of the Great War, Massie's book plots a clear and extended path through the 19th century to explain how the Great Powers of Europe came together in the... Read more
    Published 3 days ago by Hothastings
    5.0 out of 5 stars How an Arms Race can contribute to War, not Peace
    They used to teach the Causes of the Great War as A, B, C, D (= Austria; Belgium; Kiel Canal & Dreadnoughts). Read more
    Published 7 days ago by J I Houston
    5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book
    This book filled me in on an area of our history about which I knew very little and in a way that was both fascinating and readable. Thoroughly recommended.
    Published 8 days ago by Mr S Reeve
    5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest...
    Utterly compelling. History told in a way it can be understood. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest interest in WWI. Read more
    Published 9 days ago by Portlander
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read !
    Very detailed account, very readable definite page turner. Goes into very great detail and I found the footnotes very useful aiding the main text.
    Published 10 days ago by T F Kennedy
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of a traumatic period in British history
    I very much enjoyed this book. It is a very detailed account of British Naval and Political history leading up to WW1
    Published 10 days ago by John William Lawrence
    4.0 out of 5 stars More fine writing from Massie
    First off, a word of warning- the title and the fact this is often put in naval history can be misleading. Read more
    Published 18 days ago by GB12
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