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Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War

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

Robert K. Massie
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)

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    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)

    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 Sep 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 (103 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    25 of 29 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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    14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating political history 8 April 1999
    By A Customer
    '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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    5.0 out of 5 stars epic read 15 Nov 2014
    By Andy b
    Format:Kindle Edition
    A very long but fascinating review of the build up to world war one, with as the title implies a major slant on the naval side. You could look on this as including a series of biopics of all the main British and German leaders - Bismarck, Kaiser, Churchill, Fischer .....
    Excellently researched, I like the way he would alternate between the perspective of the 2 sides. The author knows his stuff and clearly loves his subject. I'm reading the follow up, castles of steel and it's just as good. Thought I knew my stuff on ww 1, but I didn't!
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    10 of 13 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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    19 of 25 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
    5.0 out of 5 stars It reads like a well researched novel
    A massive tome complete with pages of references and a huge index. My heart sank. "This is going to be a tough read" I thought. NOT AT ALL. I cant put it down. Read more
    Published 1 day ago by Mr. John A. Pendry
    5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent review of the politics and decisions leading to the ...
    Massive tome covering the arms race in last century' s European history. Much more than a book about the "Dreadnought ". Read more
    Published 10 days ago by Gary936
    3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
    Good read
    Published 12 days ago by Mr. B. Alldread
    5.0 out of 5 stars and the other great powers, and how individuals played their part
    Superb story of the shifting relationships between Britain and Germany, and the other great powers, and how individuals played their part: the royal families and the statesmen . Read more
    Published 22 days ago by D. A. Kenworthy
    5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, detailed analysis of pre WWI Europe politics.
    What an epic book. Not just a dry navy history, but rather a history of late 19th Century and early 20th Century political life in the great powers of Europe. Read more
    Published 22 days ago by D. K. Bainbridge
    5.0 out of 5 stars The context is like a laser beam picking up on every single foible ...
    A dozen very involving books in one, well written and researched with all the in-fallible characters exposed to scrutiny a whole panjandrum of movers and shakers are here for you... Read more
    Published 29 days ago by Gaarghoile
    5.0 out of 5 stars extremely detailed and enlightening.
    This is an excellent insight into how the protagonists of the war actually arrived at the point in history when Great Britain declared war on Germany. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by stewart black
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
    3.0 out of 5 stars Get something shorter.
    I'm afraid I got a bit lost and kinda stopped reading this - despite the fact that I am very keen on war history. Is there any other kind of history though?
    Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Bonnie Mitchell
    5.0 out of 5 stars That main line of events from Bismark all the way to the start of the...
    What a fabulous read.
    Massie clearly loves the subject his enthusiasm leaps off the page (after page after page after page - this is a long book). Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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