Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918 and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
£24.10
  • RRP: £30.00
  • You Save: £5.90 (20%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 12 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Ring of Steel: Germany an... has been added to your Basket
Trade in your item
Get a £5.37
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918 Hardcover – 7 Aug 2014


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£24.10
£13.91 £20.87
£24.10 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 12 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918 + Christendom Destroyed: Europe 1517-1648: Europe 1500-1650 Bk. 5 (Allen Lane History) + The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of Global Order 1916-1931
Price For All Three: £68.50

Buy the selected items together


Trade In this Item for up to £5.37
Trade in Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918 for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £5.37, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Hardcover: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; First Edition edition (7 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846142210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846142215
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 5.1 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

In a year dominated by memories of the First World War, this supremely accomplished book stands out. Not only does it look at the conflict from the perspective of the losing Central Powers, imperial Germany and Austria-Hungary, but it brings together political, military, economic and cultural history in an enormously impressive narrative. Although Watson's book is based on archival research in Germany, Austria and Poland, his scholarship is never suffocating. His accounts of the terrible struggle on the vast Eastern Front are brisk and well-judged, while he is particularly good at bringing alive the mood on the German and Austrian home fronts, from soldiers' letters to children's nursery rhymes. Above all, his book could not be a more powerful reminder that, as bad as the war was for Britain, it was far, far worse for the losers (Dominic Sandbrook Sunday Times, History Book of the Year 2014)

Will be revelatory to most British readers (Simon Heffer New Statesman BOOKS OF THE YEAR)

British historians have tended to view the Great War predominantly from the side of the Allies. Watson has done our understanding an inestimable service by examining these familiar events from the perspective of the Central Powers ... Watson's shift of perspective offers illuminating sidelights ... Watson's balance is at its most strikingly effective in a superlative chapter on Germany's catastrophic decision to launch its U-boat campaign. But it is the lost hordes of East European refugees who create the most haunting images in the immense canvas of this outstanding book (Miranda Seymour Telegraph)

A truly indispensable contribution . . . It is a mark of talent in a historian to take familiar narratives and open them to new interpretation. Mr. Watson's book is a brilliant demonstration of this skill . . . Ring of Steel is a history as much of the emotions that hardship and war produced as of politics or diplomacy . . . Watson manages to mesh his dense bottom-up description with the grand narrative of the war's key moments of decision (Adam Tooze Wall Street Journal)

An immensely authoritative new history of Germany and Austria-Hungary between 1914 and 1918. Watson writes fluently and compellingly, and his remarkable command of the sources offers new insight and information on almost every page. Soundly judged on the many controversial aspects of his topic, Watson is particularly ground-breaking in evoking the popular experience of the conflict and when investigating the atrocities that all too frequently were its accompaniment (David Stevenson (author of 1914-1918))

In Ring of Steel Alexander Watson shows us what it was like to be pierced by the sharp end of the Allied juggernaut. He takes us on an illuminating tour of the German and Austrian trenches, their querulous headquarters, their cold, starving towns, and their increasingly desperate government ministries. This is a fascinating account of the Great War from 'the other side of the hill,' but also an explanation for the chaos that followed: communism, fascism, depression, and Europe's plunge into a Second World War (Geoffrey Wawro (author of A Mad Catastrophe))

The Central Powers' Great War was not waged from the top down. Instead, as Alexander Watson's comprehensively researched and clearly presented analysis demonstrates, in both Germany and Austria-Hungary popular support was vital to mobilizing and sustaining an increasingly-futile conflict (Dennis Showalter (author of Tannenberg: Clash of Empires 1914))

About the Author

Alexander Watson is Lecturer of History at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has been a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge, a British Academy Postgraduate Fellow at the University of Cambridge and, from 2011-13, Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow at Warsaw University. His first book, Enduring the Great War, won the Fraenkel Prize.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By fasi on 14 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very readable account of WWI as experienced at the time by the German and Austro-Hungarian participants. It succeeds in being at the same time dispassionate and compassionate, chronicling the agonies of warfare with blame laid only on the relatively few on all sides who were morally guilty by the standards of the time. The author shows great skill in including just enough statistical data to explain the forces at work and just enough documentation of personal experience to engage sympathy with protagonists. A particular strength is the attention to civilian morale and the micro-economics which proved so important. The one weakness might have been that it assumes a good knowledge of the geography of, for example, Galicia and East Prussia but this is easily remedied with maps found on the internet.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Squirr-El TOP 50 REVIEWER on 26 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Ring of Steel, Alexander Watson, Allen Lane, 2014, 816pp.

This is a superb book, extremely readable while also being a comprehensive study of the Central Powers during the First World War. It is not concerned with the military aspects of the war, as such, but the `total history', looking at all aspects of the struggle as it affected the two Great Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. It is a narrative history, but manages to address different subjects in each chapter while maintaining the narrative.

The first chapter looks at the political leadership of the two states, explaining the background to their desire for a war, and the author states quite clearly that there are no serious modern historians who dispute that the Central powers wanted a war and actively pursued it. he does, however, explain just why they wanted it, and how they went about getting it.

The second chapter looks at the mobilisation, and how the two states had prepared their armies over the years leading up to the war. The third looks at the war plans of the two powers, and how they unfolded in the opening moves of the war. I was quite pleased to see that the author has read up on the `Schlieffen Plan' controversy, and while not accepting Dr Zuber's thesis word for word, (as you can see from the relevant Notes for the chapter) did accept that it was Moltke's plan that was unleashed in 1914. (This is one of my favourite subjects - see Inventing the Schlieffen Plan: German War Planning 1871-1914 for more details.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Kindle Edition
Ring of Steel tells the story of World War 1 from the "other side of the hill" and claims to be the first modern history from this viewpoint.

Being a World War 2 devotee this book really opened my eyes to the German/Austro Hungarian viewpoint and decision making in World War 1. It really is a fascinating read telling the story of how Germany and Austria-Hungary initially mobilised the support of their populations to but as military losses mounted, and Allied blockades caused hunger and hardship on the homefront, doubts set in.

Whilst politics are key to understanding the German/Austro-Hungarian position social and economic effects of the war are covered extensively too.

Some nuggets from the book that I hadn't necessarily realised:

Russia mobilised before Germany, sparking German fears of invasion from the East that unified support across all political divides of the German and most of the Austro-Hungarian populace.

The general belief in Germany and Austro-Hungary that the war was purely a defensive reaction contrary to the Allies view of Germany/Austro-Hungary as the aggressor.

How complex the Austro Hungarian Empire was with its collection of separate nationalities and eleven spoken languages creating no ethnic, language, or national unity as in Germany.
There’s many more, but I’d recommend buying the book for those.

Whilst a lot of books are currently being produced from the Allies point of view Alexander Watson has filled a vacant space in our knowledge of the German and Austro-Hungarian viewpoint. Highly recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
The experiences of the populations of the Central Powers are invariably overlooked, or at best referred to sketchily. Alexander Watson's important book rectifies that and is an much-needed addition to the libraries of anyone wanting a complete view of the Great War. The German view of the effectiveness of the Allies' blockade, as well as their military strategy, certainly gave me an additional dimension to my knowledge of the conflict. The enormous internal ethnic forces in Austro-Hungary, as well as the surprising amount of political unrest both there and in Germany, was a real eye-opener to me. The author gives a balanced perspective of all the participants, highlighting their shortcomings and strengths. He apportions blame as to the causes of the war and it is startling to read how decisions affecting millions could be taken so rashly. For a real understanding of World War One this book is an essential read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback