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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 (155 customer reviews)

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Book 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 Description


"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)

About the Author

Robert Massie is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, Dreadnought, Castles of Steel and The Romanovs: The Final Chapter.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4161 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 (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,727 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars German War Guilt 26 Feb. 2014
As one would expect from a writer of the calibre of Robert Massie, this thousand page tome seems all too short. The extraordinary personalities involved in to this slide into catastrophe are brilliantly delineated, the events graphically and intelligibly set out, and the finger of guilt points inexorably at Germany. Betraying their Bismarkian legacy which all costs wanted to avoid a war on two fronts, led by a psychologically damaged Kaiser, egged on by a an over -confident and aggressive military and naval officer corps, Germany played a brash and reckless game with the other powers in the two decades before the war broke out.

Given the centenary this year of the outbreak of the First World War, this is an excellent and elegant way to begin to understand the rivalries and follies that led inexorably to war. The Kaiser is particular comes over as an absurd , petulant, and inadequate leader with far too much power. He almost invariably put his foot in it, and the greatest mess of all led to the death of millions. Enunciating views towards the Jews and to world conquest reminiscent of Hitler, Wilhelm II should have been tried for war crimes.

Appallingly the Armistice proved to be just that, a crazy interlude, before the war for world domination recommenced in 1939, again motivated by German militarism and indifference to human suffering.

Fortunately for those who have surfed through a thousand pages of prelude to war, Massie has written an equally long sequel on the course of the Great war.
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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
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
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
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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By gingera
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I repeat the above .i have always had an interest in the Great War ,reading my fathers 6 volumes of "A Popular History of the Great War" Edited by Sir J.A Hammerton and published in London byThe Fleetway House and printed by The Amalgamated Press Ltd. Of London in my early teens over 55 years ago.There is no date of edition etc.
Robert K massie's book presents much of the intrigue and an insight into the political goings on that are meticulous in their.detail and recounting while exuding an 'aroma' of truth in portraying and relating so many complex characters and facts that cover both the British side as well as the other nationalities involved with impartiality and bring to life so many of the people who lived and influenced the events of the period. AA Scotland.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent 11 Mar. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fascinating and exceptionally clear account. An in-depth analysis of the social and political scenes, and the roles of the monarchies in Britain and Germany in the build up to the war. One gains a broad view of the way politics operated at the time, and how the various interested bodies exerted influence over the unfolding events. I found it extraordinary how much influence just a handful of individuals had in both countries, and how the populations were, in essence, manipulated by those in power ( plus ca change).
Very well written, accessible and comprehensive. Hugely enjoyable. Excellent.
(I am not an historian or academic, just an interested reader; I simply found this the best text I've read on an historical topic)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
more historical very little reference to the books title dreadnought the battleships
Published 1 month ago by Fintan S.
5.0 out of 5 stars May contain nuts (Kaiser Wilhelm)
I thought this book was going to be about ships but it is so much more. It really puts you back into the Victorian and Edwardian age. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Martin Owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, lost of detail, a must-read!
There's so much detail - each chapter could almost be it's own book. So there's lots to read, but you definitely feel like you know a lot more about the run-up to WWI by the time... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. C. Rust
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTLY FANTASTIC
I have never written a review before, but I feel duty bound to write one now. This book is ABSOLUTLY FANTASTIC. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Keith Salmon
5.0 out of 5 stars Navy history
Not enough navy history to make this interesting book great
Published 1 month ago by Michael Coleman
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 month 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 1 month 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 1 month 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 1 month 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 2 months ago by J I Houston
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