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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 (127 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 (127 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,662 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
    4.0 out of 5 stars A tale much greater than a battleship 12 Dec 2014
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    The title does not do justice to the work. This is a very comprehensive account of British-German relations from the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria to the outbreak of the Great War. As the book reaches the beginning of the twentieth century the author deals with the different themes and events separately which means that he is moving backwards and forwards through their respective timelines. His brief biographies of the principal characters, often starting in childhood, take us back again and again into the past before hurrying forward to the "contemporary" events.

    He does bring out some little known gems about the individuals; I had never heard that Winston Churchill had been recommended for the VC (it was blocked by Kitchener on personal or political grounds). However he does repeat a few canards. His description of the press gang system in the Royal Navy repeats the myth of drunks and tramps bludgoned into the service. Prof. Nicholas Rodger has comprehensively dealt with this in several monumental works on the subject. He also falls for the "there's something wrong with our bloody ships" trap; there was nothing wrong with the ships it was ill-discipline among the officers who opened up the fire traps to speed handling of the ammunition; the German battle cruisers Seydlitz and Derflinger took enormous punishment and remained afloat. And on a minor point, he translates Holstein's position as First Counselor whereas the more literal, and suitably sinister, translation would be secret counselor!

    Overall, a massive piece of work with lessons which are still relevant and will be as long as great powers face each other with great arsenals.
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    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    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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    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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    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    I was drawn to this book by the title, I have always liked the name Dreadnought but knew little about the ships themselves. What I expected was just the story of those ships, what I received was a detailed history of Europe from Nelsons victory at Trafalgar to the outbreak of WW1. If like me you could just about remember some archduke getting shot then buy this book. I was both amazed and ashamed at just how ignorant I was. The author has included mini biographies of the main protagonists so you can get some idea of how they thought and why they reacted the way they did. On some subjects the tale is told from the English perspective and then later told again from the German or whichever countries are involved, so you get to see the reasoning behind each sides responses to the other.
    The main battle between the dreadnoughts didn't happen until 1916 so I can see the reasoning behind stopping at the outbreak of the war. The fact that it does was the only disappointment I have with the book. I still give it five stars and recommend it to anyone who has an interest in European history or the First World war
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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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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    brilliant review of the years up to the outbreak of war
    Published 2 hours ago by John Parsons
    5.0 out of 5 stars I found the history of the time around the end ...
    I found the history of the time around the end of the 19th century and the start of the 20th to be very interesting.
    Published 1 day ago by Brian C Searle
    5.0 out of 5 stars It's not just about the navy
    I thought it was going to be about the navy in the build up to the first world war, it is andsomuchmore. It goes into so much depth in other areas as well. Read more
    Published 2 days ago by Daz
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    remarkable insight into ruling caste backgrounds
    Published 3 days ago by Roy Crowder
    4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
    Not what I expected but can't put it down.Very interesting!
    Published 4 days ago by graham w clifford
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Riveting from start to finish
    Excellent. Riveting from start to finish. We had a real navy in those days
    Published 4 days ago by Roger Jenkins
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Good service,not been read yet
    Published 4 days ago by Eileen Bernard
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Published 6 days ago by peter greenwood
    3.0 out of 5 stars Detailed
    Maybe too detailed pollitics for some peoples liking. In depth research, but takes a long time to get to the point. Read more
    Published 7 days ago by monkey
    Published 7 days ago by Michael Finnigan
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