If you buy only one book about the First World War you would be hard-pressed to do better than this one. From the dust jacket reproduction of C.R.W. Nevinson's harrowing painting, French Troops Resting, to the clear, well-presented series of maps at the end, it displays the very highest standards of production. In between the covers it is positively brimming with an extensive selection of photographs, posters and paintings from or about the period. Some are well-known though many are less so and have clearly been rooted out in a thorough and wide-ranging archive search. This alone brings something to the book that few others on the subject can match: the ability to evoke the spirit of the time through the imagery and sights--though thankfully not the sounds and smells--of the period, transporting the mind of reader back in time.
This, however, is only one aspect of the book. The other is a series of 23 authoritative, scholarly essays by renowned historians on various aspects of the war. The subjects are comprehensive in scope, taking in the expected areas such as the origins of the war, the strategies employed by the Central and Entente powers, the war at sea and in the air, and economic warfare. There are also fascinating chapters on Mutinies and Military Morale, Women, War, and Work, The Challenge to Liberalism: The Politics of the Home Fronts and finally a touching and poignant chapter, Memory and the Great War, which examines the haunting legacy of the cataclysm. As the war gradually recedes from living memory this book will surely become a significant part of that legacy for current and future generations--lest they forget. -- Alisdair Bowles --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A remarkable series of essays of a variety of issues raised by the Great War.... Highly recommended for most libraries."--Library Journal"Editor Strachan has commissioned 20 historians to summarize present thought about the July 1914 crisis, the military course of the war, the social and economic strains it exerted in all the belligerents, and its conclusion in revolutions and treaties. The war shattered illusions of every kind, starting with the belief that it would be brief; the accounts of why it was not are pithily rendered, reinforced by powerful illustrations of the western front's moonscapes, among other scenes of the war. Strachan's writers also assess the war outside Europe and the nascent nationalisms it unleashed. Readers will find this comprehensive work a captivating introduction to the Great War."--Gilbert Taylor in Booklist"Strachan has chosen wisely, and offers a well-conceived...introduction. In all, a worthwhile contribution to WWI literature."--Kirkus Reviews"The essays are detailed, scholarly and comprehensive.... A wonderful reference to have in your library."--The Seattle Times
About the Author
Hew Strachan is Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow, and Life Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He is the author of The Politics of the British Army (OUP, 1997).