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A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today Hardcover – 16 Nov 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (16 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471788988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471788980
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 708,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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The Versailles peace conference, held between the Allied victorious powers and Germany following World War I, attempted to create a lasting peace–and parcel out the world. The great powers felt that they should inherit much of it; inhabitants of the countries to be parceled out felt otherwise. The shortsightedness of the conferees produced a world that fragmented in unexpected ways and arguably generated a century of continuous conflict. With chapters on some of those present, such as the young Ho Chi Min, on the shared goals of Emir Feisal and Chaim Weizmann, and on the abortive stab at making peace in revolutionary Russia, Andelman (executive editor, Forbes.com ) casts a bitter light on the rest of the 20th century. The author′s constant theme is that the failures of the Versailles conference laid the groundwork for World War II, the iron curtain, the Vietnam War, the various Middle East conflicts, and the Balkan wars. Andelman′s sprightly view of the peace process, the major and minor players, and the decades–later outcomes is an excellent read that will enhance most history collections. Recommended for most subject collections.
Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS ( Library Journal, October 15, 2007)

"...fascinating...a challenging and courageous study which highlights the connection between the critical post–war period and the George W. Bush administration′s..." (opendemocracy.net, Sunday 11th November 2007)

"Andelman′s sprightly view of the peace process, the major and minor players, and the decades–later outcomes is an excellent read..." ( Library Journal, October 15, 2007)

"...fascinating...[a] study which highlights the connection between the critical post–war period and the George W. Bush administration′s..."  (opendemocracy.net, Sunday 11th November 2007)

In this revealing and insightful new look at the treaty Andelman exposes the lessons we can learn from Versailles. Lancashire Evening Post Saturday 22 March 2008

Straight talking and easy to read, this does offer good basic advice on nutrition and food labelling Health & Fitness May 2008


"In this revealing and insightful new look at the treaty...Andelman exposes the lessons we can learn...from Versailles."

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5 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Dunskus on 2 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Not (yet) having read the book itself, I wish to point out a somewhat erroneous statement in one of the "official" reviews. The review states "The Versailles peace conference, held between the Allied victorious powers and Germany following World War I", but as opposed to previous negotiations of this kind, such as the Vienna Congress of 1815, Germany, the defeated nation par excellence, was not invited to sit at the conference table until the very end, and then she faced Hobson's choice: Sign on the dotted line or else. No wonder the Germans never really became enthusiastic about the "treaty" and preferred to call it a "Diktat".

It is a tribute to American policy that the Versailles paper was never ratified by the USA
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Amazon.com: 34 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Valuable Lessons Applicable to Today's World 25 Nov. 2007
By Joseph F. Birchmeier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author's stated purpose for this book is to examine the impact of the Treaty of Versailles on the Middle East (to include Iraq), the Far East and the Balkans. I think that he does a wonderful job of providing insight into how decisions that came about during the conference in Paris has impacted each of these areas of the world to the present day. His inclusion of lesser known players, their opinions, and thier interactions with the other participants in the conference, and even their social life during the conference is entertaining, easy to read, and adds a great deal to the book. At the end of the book I had a clear picture of how the decisions were arrived at in Paris and thier continuing impacts.
I have only one criticism of the book. The author presents different options that were available to the participants of the conference for solving the issues in each of these areas of the world - but does not provide any analysis for the feasibility of taking these different options. I would have liked to have heard the author's opinions as to: How many Soldiers would have been needed to enforce these different options? How much money and other resources would have been required to facililiate these different options? And would these different options have prevented or lessened the amount of bloodshed that the world has witnessed since this treaty was completed? I think this type of analysis would add to the book's value and make what seems to be in many cases obvious solutions to the issues at hand during the peace conference not quite as appealing or desireable given the realities of the times (specifically that the world was trying to recover from a just finished WWI).
Highly recommend this book however, it contains many valuable points for consideration and is a page-turner.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Read - Compact and Informative 14 Feb. 2008
By Conor Cunneen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book, excellently written, if a little mis-titled.

David Andelman has written a book which presents very cogently how the debacle of Versailles 1919 still impacts the world today. The reason why I suggest the book is mis-titled is because the author does not take us in depth into the negotiations which took place at Versailles. Instead, he paints a very vivid picture of the key players, countries and geo-politics that prefaced Versailles and World War I.

In presenting these well crafted pictures, he shows that to some extent, Versailles was a done deal almost before the event. "Across the region, forces of all sides were seeking to establish fait accomplis - bringing further misery, death, and destruction to millions of people."

The level of intrigue, secret agreements and downright Machiavellian behavior which the major and some minor powers involved themselves in the years prior to 1919 is mind boggling. Maybe the saddest element of this book is that many of the key parties understood, even as they were negotiating the treaty that in the words of a disappointed T.E. Lawrence "There will be hell to pay."
There has been hell to pay - World War II, Vietnam, Yugoslavia / Bosnia / Croatia, the Japanese involvement in WWII can all be traced to the Shattered Peace.

Andelman makes it quite clear that three things motivated the major parties
Colonialism, for instance "The view of Allied Statesmen was that Arabs ... needed to be ruled by Europeans for their own benefit";
Revenge and
Ensuring Germany would never be a power again.

The terrible irony of course is that the terms imposed on the German people virtually ensured Europe would be at war again within two decades which is not something that was unexpected. Lloyd George wrote in one prescient document, "I cannot conceive any greater cause of future war" than the transfer of millions of Germans to smaller neighboring nations. "It will lead sooner or later to a new war in the East of Europe." How horribly right he was.

The author provides clear pictures on Arabia, Palestine and the conflict between Czechoslovakia's Tomas Masaryk and Poland's internationally famed pianist turned statesmen Ignace Jan Paderewski. He also paints a very interesting and compelling portrait of the young Ho Chi Minh, initially an idealistic believer in the Versailles process, but who ultimately felt his country's fate could best be served by pledging his loyalty to Lenin. The Vietnamese leaders description of one massacre of his people helps one appreciate why they despised the French colonial rule of their country.

I am sure there have been many lengthier books written on Versailles, but few can be as interesting a read. Excellent reading for anyone who wishes to explore the genesis of many of today's geo-political problems.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"Of course these people are short-sighted and incredibly stupid" 4 Feb. 2013
By doc peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Andelman's thesis - that the problems and tragedies of the 20th century lay squarely at the feet of the Big Four - is hardly a new idea. Still, the arrogance, hubris and self-righteousness of the leaders of the victorious nations following World War I is appalling.

Andelman's attention isn't directed towards Germany's treatment at the Paris Peace, but rather he examines the dismantling of the other Central Powers: Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. Even today this part of the world isn't well understood by non-specialists, this all the more true last century, many briefs literally lifted from encyclopedias as Clemenceau and Lloyd-George began redrawing the map of central Europe and the Near East. As Andelman shows, the decisons made the spring and summer of 1919 were ridiculously cavalier. Matters of course were complicated by the wildly divergent visions the Big Four had for the world: Wilson oblivious to the impact his idea of self-determination had to the "little peoples" of the world, Lloyd-George and Clemenceau each seeking to slice out their share of what they saw as the spoils of war, everyone worried about the spread of Bolsehvism. The result was a politically unsustanable peace that was ethnographcially flawed and was therefore the roots of many contemporary problems: the sectarian strife in eastern Iraq between Shi'ii and Sunni, the Israeli-Palestinian problem, the Balkan genocide of the 1990s. In connecting the dots of these recent tragedies to the origins at Versailles is the heart - and strength - of the book. In many respects, _A Shattered Peace_ is similar to A Peace to End All Peace, 20th Anniversary Edition: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (an excellent book that I strongly recommend, incidentially), although Andelman gives with a much broader view by looking at the Balkans and Asia as well as the Near East.

Andelman opens the book by comparing the worries of the spread of communism into Hungary and the Balkans in 1919 with contemporary worries of the spread of al-Quaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq. The comparison is eerie. I wish he had revisted this idea at the conclusion of the book, as I fear that once again we are (in the words of Gertrude Bell) being "short-sighted and incredibly stupid" in shaping the 21st century. It is unfortunate he didn't seek to provide some framework for considering how such tragic ends may be avoided in the future. A recommended read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
excellent look at the making of the peace treaties 17 Feb. 2011
By EPlend - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was actually assigned for a class I have. It is a good book. Unique look at the post-WWI peace process. Things it did, and particularly the things it failed to do. Definitely a good read. As a caveat, the writer is a journalist, not an historian. He has a definite point of view, so don't mistake his opinion as gospel. That is the only drawback to this excellent book. Its a very broad look at the peace, looking at people impacted from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. Profiles on characters involved are quite good. I would highly recommend.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
If you Like Ambrose and McCullough, you'll Love A Shattered Peace 11 Mar. 2008
By Marc E. Babej - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
David Andelman is a writer of history on par with Stephen Ambrose or David MCullough, and A Shattered Peace one of the most intriguing, readable nonfiction books in recent years.

If you think this is a dry memoir of diplomatic history... think again! Andelman brings obvious - and not-so-obvious actors (think Ho Chi Minh) to life. A Shattered Peace doesn't just describe or analyze the Treaty of Versailles as a moment in history, but takes you inside one of the most fascinating and consequential gatherings in history.

Andelman puts his journalistic training to great use in A Shattered Peace. His voice is that of a historian of the present, as he misses no chance to explain the impact of decisions (and non-decisions!) at Versailles on the present.

The end result is more than a great history book. This is a book for our time.
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