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The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War Unknown Binding – 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198206143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198206149
  • ASIN: B002BF5YDU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,887,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
Kosutnjak Park, Belgrade, mid-May 1914: Gavrilo Princip fires his revolver at an oak tree, training for his part in the plot. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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By MarkK TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 April 2001
Format: Paperback
This book offers a broad view of the First World War, which is both the book's strength and its weakness. The book is a collection of essays addressing various topics and periods in the war, each written by the leading experts in the field. While this generally ensures knowledgable overviews, the lack of continuity of interpretation (so were the Germans suffering from a lack of artillery in 1918 or weren't they?) can be annoying at times. Furthermore, the limitations on the length of the various chapters means that even the most important subject receives only a cursory treatment at best. Overall, it's a good introduction to the war, though one that should be supplemented by additional reading in the bibliographies provided.
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By Mike Watkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is not, as one review says, the work of *an* expert, but of many; Hew Strachan is the editor, rather than than the author, and is not even a contributor per se. It may be a little unfair to award an excellent overview of WWI less than 5*, but as another reviewer points out, the fact that it is an overview is a weakness as well as a strength.

The production of the hardback version of this (which is the one I own) is of high quality, which makes the best of the illustrations unlike, for example, the cheap paper used in Random House's Forgotten Voices series. A nice touch is the inclusion of some 2 dozen colour plates. Inevitably, given the lack of colour photography at the time (it was not unknown, but was very much in its infancy at the time), most of these are paintings & posters (4 are modern photographs; 2 of commemorations, one of a genuine Mark V tank; the fourth would appear to be of the only flying original SE5, part of the Shuttleworth Collection). In addition to that, many of the illustrations, both colour & black & white, I have not seen elsewhere. From the point of view of information, it is an excellent overview, on the whole.

Its weaknesses, however, are that, at 350-odd pages it is rather too short, and the "Illustrated" in the title is a bit of a misnomer. Most overview histories of such a large & complex subject run to several hundred pages more than this. It does itself a disservice by trying to compress too much. As for the illustrations, whilst they are reasonably plentiful, I have seen other books with as many that don't call themselves "Illustrated". Therefore, whilst the quality & variety is good, the number perhaps doesn't warrant the claim. Finally, it is worth noting that there seems to be a new edition due out, unsurprisingly, in April 2014, which is a little longer at around 420 pages. I obviously cannot comment on that; for this edition 4* seems, to me, to be a fair review.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is an updated second edition of the Oxford Illustrated History, and contains 24 survey-style academic essays on various aspects of WW1. Strachan’s introduction is very good at problematising the ways in which the war is still conceived and spoken of (‘global’, ‘total’, ‘modern’), and in thinking through the implications of these categories.

The essays themselves are written by academic historians, leaders in their individual fields, and cover modern thinking on the causes of the war, economic warfare, the various theatres (the Balkans, Africa, war at sea), the role of women, propaganda, revolutions, and peace settlements. The book ends with a survey of how the war has been remembered, and fictionalised, throughout the twentieth century. Each essay is followed by a brief bibliography of further reading.

So this isn’t a book for anyone wanting a personal or dramatic view of the war, but is perfect for undergraduates, or general interested readers, working on any of the aspects of war who need a brief and timely overview of where research is currently.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a series of articles written by recognised academics in the field. It takes a thematic, rather than a chronological, approach to the war. Thorough and well written, it is particularly useful if you are wish to understand the broader issues and themes relating to the war. However, if you want to understand the key battles in detail then you would be better looking at the Osprey "Essential Histories" series.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very detailed book written by a series of scholars.
Not as easy to read as Catastrophe by Max Hastings but much more depth.
Some very interesting illustrations
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a collection of essays, some more useful than others but overall, a good start to researching 1st World war
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