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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 (95 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:
    • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #23,774 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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    4.0 out of 5 stars Not just about ships 13 Oct 2014
    By JRF
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    Most books on WWI begin in 1914, or maybe a few years before. This one goes much further back, to the middle of the 19th Century, to examine the many threads of the relevant history. The focus initially is very much on Germany rather than Britain, looking at key players well-known and less well-known. For example, everyone has heard of Bismarck (the ship), but what about Bismarck (the man)? The same for Tirpitz. You will learn about them here, as well as other names that may not be at all familiar. As the book progresses, Britain and her statesmen appear on the scene.

    The book may not be the easiest read, in part because of the dense politics that forms an integral part of the story, but is recommended for anyone wanting to learn more about how decisions in the decades before WWI helped lead to that calamitous conflict.
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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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    22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars An epic of immense proportions. 4 Jun 2007
    By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
    It was the First World War - known at that time as "The Great War" which changed Britain and Europe forever. As the Generals on both sides sent thousands of men to their deaths in the carnage which they regarded as warfare, there came about a change in the psyche of the British male - a change which would herald a complete alteration in the way he thought and acted towards those of the upper, ruling classes. No longer would that British male be so quick to use such words as "M'Lord" or even "Sir." No longer would he doff his cap as a mark of respect, no longer would the ordinary police Constable be so quick to "arrest that man" just because a well dressed person had ordered him so to do.

    That change in British Society continues to this day and is easily traced back to the feelings of loss and despair which came with the realisation that far too many young men had died "at the front" - even though the war itself had been won and mainland Britain had escaped unscathed.

    In this epic tale, author Robert Massie delves deep into why that war occurred in the first place. Every single aspect of argument and behaviour on both sides (both military and political) is exposed and analysed. As the title of the book would suggest, the theme is the world's first great arms race. When Britain produced the first Dreadnought Battleship it rendered all other battleships obsolete at a stroke (including the remainder of the British Fleet!). From that moment onwards it was always a question of who could produce the most new Dreadnoughts in the quickest possible time. Set against this wish by both Britain and Germany to be seen as the world's supreme masters of the seas was a political intrigue which few have been able to commit to print in such a masterly fashion as is found in this book.

    In short, this is one of the greatest books of our time. It is also a good read.

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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    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 11 days 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 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
    4.0 out of 5 stars History in the making, in a well told story
    Bought in an Amazon sale for a great price, this book predominantly deals with the development of the Dreadnaught class of battleship - but it also looks at other factors in the... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Mike Renshaw
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Three times and still interested in an age of few having much and most of us having little.
    Published 1 month ago by ep noble
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    this is a big book with lots of Victorian historical detail
    Published 1 month ago by richard richards
    4.0 out of 5 stars Very good easy to read background to the build up to ...
    Very good easy to read background to the build up to the start of the First World War. A bit too americanistic in the writing style for my liking but overall a good read for a... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by John M.
    5.0 out of 5 stars A major work - but very readable. Despite the ...
    A major work - but very readable. Despite the title the scope of the book is much broader than this and really paints a picture of the personalities involved from the middle of the... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by John Fleet
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Published 2 months ago by Mr R C Smith
    5.0 out of 5 stars The slow drift to war
    Tremendously readable account of the naval rivalry between Britain and Germany leading up to 1914 - a bit like watching a train crash in slow motion as the competition takes its... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Wingding
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    A very good read
    Published 2 months ago by Baz
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