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Great Britains Great War Paperback – 3 Oct 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (3 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670919624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670919628
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.8 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,312,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeremy Paxman was born in Yorkshire. He grew up thinking of himself as 'English' despite being one quarter Scottish. He is a journalist, best known for his work presenting Newsnight and University Challenge. His books Friends in High Places, Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life, The English, On Royalty and The Political Animal are all published by Penguin.


Product Description

Review

Paxman is witty, incisive, acerbic and opinionated . . . In short, he carries the whole thing off with panache bordering on effrontery (Sunday Times on Empire)

He writes with wit and penetration, and every page can be read with relaxed pleasure (Spectator on Empire) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Jeremy Paxman is a renowned broadcaster, award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of seven works of non-fiction, including The English, The Political Animal and Empire. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Justine clack on 31 Dec 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Realy enjoyed this book, I have not read many WW1 books, this made me think about how we percieved the war then and now. Very moving as well when thinking about how many lost their lives. This is one of the few books that is able to informatively talk about statistics and facts whilst never loosing the sensitivity of the lives that were lost. Really moving and informative book.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By History Geek on 21 Jan 2014
Format: Hardcover
Jeremy Paxman isn't well known as a First World War academic. In fact, Jeremy Paxman isn't a First World War academic at all. Nevertheless, he has turned his attention to the First World War, presumably to commemorate (or cash in) on the centenary of the conflict. As you might expect of a book by a journalist (no doubt heavily supported by a researcher), there isn't anything particularly new here. However, it is easy to sniff at a work by a 'celebrity' historian and damn it just because he dared to write it. This is actually a decent account - Paxman has collected many examples of British experiences during the war and synthesised them into a very readable account of the First World War from a British perspective. If you want new research or a bit more detail, go with one of the academic historians. But for a popular social history of the First World War, this is a good choice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By vasco444 on 27 Mar 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having watched the tv series I followed up with the book which I have found very readable, probably because it is both a social and military history rather than just concentrating on the military side. It does bring home how the concept of duty, which was so evident at the time, has long disappeared.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Nov 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The year 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WW1, or "The Great War", as it was known til another world war came along and gave "The Great War" a different title, this one with a numeral. British writer and newsman, Jeremy Paxman, has written a wonderful book on the British participation in the war. It is only available in the US in its Kindle form at the price of $28.99, which seems excessive to me, so I ordered the real book copy from Amazon/UK for 13BP ($20) plus shipping, which was cheaper than the Kindle copy. But no matter in what form you read it, Jeremy Paxman's book, "Great Britain's Great War" is well worth reading.

As a long-time history buff and voracious reader of history, I've long thought that some of the best history books are those whose authors take a small "bite" off the larger pie and present a slice of history. Now it may mean more reading to learn the whole picture with this approach, but the books that are written this way represent an excellent method of learning history. Jeremy Paxman takes the period of 1914 to 1918 (and a bit later) and examines the war and the effect it had on Britain and the colonies (later the Commonwealth countries). Using the scattered-but-written-as-part-of-a-whole style, he writes about the war in both political and military terms. He highlights both the Battle of the Somme and the Gallipoli campaign as examples of wrong-headed military tactics, compounded by bone-headed political decisions. He is particularly scathing about the usually stupid military commanders, who "lead from the rear" as young men - both officers and enlisted men - are sent into enemy fire as lambs sent to slaughter.

But while concentrating on the political and military aspects of WW1, Paxman doesn't neglect the "Home Front".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. J. Weeks on 20 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback
A well written concise history of the war, not only on the battle field but also the home front. Why the war happened, how so many volunteered and the political currents are well documented. The rumour mongering, spite against Germans and the attempts to keep the reality of the conflict from the people are often shocking. Paxman produces very readable history.
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73 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Oct 2013
Format: Hardcover
As the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War draws near, we will see a flood of books about it, and Jeremy Paxman has got in early with this vivid account, in under 300 pages, of Britain's part in it. In his Introduction he writes that for us the Great War is as far distant from us as the Battle of Waterloo was from the men who joined up in 1914, that as a result many of us make the false assumptions that we understand it, and that we look at it through the eyes of our society rather than through those of that generation. I am not sure that this is entirely true, even of those who, like Paxman, were born five years after the end of the Second World War. I think the UNDERSTANDING of the First World War, and the accounts here of the politics and of the campaigns, would be fairly familiar to anybody who is interested in the history of the time. But Paxman has a point when he shows that the widespread present JUDGMENT that the World War I was a "pointless" waste of lives was not shared by the men who were prepared to sacrifice themselves or by their women folk who saw them going to war.

The considerable value of Paxman's book lies, in my opinion, not so much in seeing that war once more in its original perspective as in his own characteristic mixture of sympathy and sardonic observations, but above all in the many details he has culled from his source material. One early example: "postmen resigned their jobs rather than face the sight of yet another family in tears" as they received the dreaded telegram announcing the death of one of their loved ones.
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