The Pity of War and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Trade in Yours
For a 1.01 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading The Pity of War on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Pity of War [Paperback]

Niall Ferguson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
Price: 7.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
You Save: 3.30 (30%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 25 July? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 5.03  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 7.69  
Unknown Binding --  
Audio Download, Unabridged 18.90 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial
Trade In this Item for up to 1.01
Trade in The Pity of War for an Amazon Gift Card of up to 1.01, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

26 Mar 2009

Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War: 1914-1918 is a provocative and boldly-conceived history that explodes many of the myths surrounding the First World War.

The First World War killed around eight million men and bled Europe dry. In this provocative book Niall Ferguson asks: was the sacrifice worth it? Was it all really an inevitable cataclysm and were the Germans a genuine threat? Was the war, as is often asserted, greeted with popular enthusiasm? Why did men keep on fighting when conditions were so wretched? Was there in fact a death wish abroad, driving soldiers to their own destruction?

The war, he argues, was a disaster - but not for the reasons we think. Far worse than a tragedy, it was the greatest error of modern history.

'Must take a permanent place at the top of the War's historiography. It is one of the very few books whose own scale matches that of the events it describes'
  Alan Clark, Daily Telegraph

'Possibly the most important book to appear in years both on the origins of the First World War ... Ferguson can confidently claim to have inherited A. J. P. Taylor's mantle'
  Paul Kennedy, New York Review of Books

'At one massive stroke, Niall Ferguson has transformed the intellectual landscape'
  Economist

Niall Ferguson is one of Britain's most renowned historians. He is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the bestselling author of Civilization, The House of Rothschild, The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus, Empire, Colossus, The War of the World and The Ascent of Money.


Frequently Bought Together

The Pity of War + The War of the World: History's Age of Hatred + Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire
Price For All Three: 25.87

Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (26 Mar 2009)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0140275231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140275230
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Niall Ferguson is one of Britain's most renowned historians. He is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the bestselling author of Paper and Iron, The House of Rothschild, The Pity of War, The Cash Nexus, Empire, Colossus, The War of the World and The Ascent of Money. He also writes regularly for newspapers and magazines all over the world.

Product Description

Amazon Review

If someone less distinguished than Niall Ferguson--a fellow and tutor in Modern History at Jesus College, Oxford--had written The Pity of Waryou could be forgiven for thinking that he was a man in search of a few cheap headlines by contradicting almost every accepted orthodoxy about World War I.

Ferguson argues that Britain was as much to blame for the start of the war as was German militarism, and that had Britain sacrificed Belgium to Germany, the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution would never have happened, Germany would have created a united European state, and Britain could have remained a superpower. He also contends that there was little enthusiasm for the war in Britain in 1914, but equally he claims that it was not prolonged by clever manipulation of the media. Instead, he purports that the reason men fought was because they enjoyed it. He also maintains that it wasn't the severity of the conditions imposed on Germany at Versailles in 1919 that led inexorably to World War II; rather it was the comparative leniency and the failure to collect reparations in full.

The Pity of War has no pretensions to offering the grand narrative of World War I. Instead it reads like a polemical tract; as such it is immensely readable, well-researched, and controversial. You may not end up agreeing with all of Ferguson's arguments, but that should not deter you from reading it. All of us need our deeply-held views challenged from time to time; if only to remind us why we've got them. --John Crace --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

The most challenging and provocative analysis of the First World War to date (Ian Kershaw)

Must take a permanent place at the top of the War's historiography. It is one of the very few books whose own scale matches that of the events it describes (Alan Clark Daily Telegraph)

Brilliant and stimulating ... radical, readable and convincing (The Times)

Possibly the most important book to appear in years both on the origins of the First World War ... Ferguson can confidently claim to have inherited A. J. P. Taylor's mantle (Paul Kennedy New York Review of Books)

At one massive stroke, Niall Ferguson has transformed the intellectual landscape (Economist)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
It is often asserted that the First World War was caused by culture: to be precise, the culture of militarism, which is said to have prepared men so well for what they yearned for it. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking if a bit suspect in detail 11 July 2011
Format:Paperback
I read this interesting and thought-provoking book when it was first published, and revisited it last weekend when I needed to look up some data. It's spoiled a bit for me by his chapter on tactics and the body count, where a lot of his writing strikes me as suspect in detail.

He lists as "Excuses" for high Allied casualties the fact that the Germans were mostly defending, difficulties in communications as armies had grown too large to control in the absence of radios, and the "learning curve" as the Allies figured out tactics that would work (less obvious at the time than they seem with hindsight) and built the weight of artillery needed. All of these are true and amongst the reasons why the First World War turned out the way it did, as was the sheer fact of three large Armies crammed in near-stalemate conditions onto the narrow Western Front, with no obvious alternative strategy available. So why label these explanations "excuses", or write "here the excuses must stop"? Were the Germans somewhat better, on a tactical and operational level, at waging war than the Allies? Well yes I guess they probably were, but they threw it all away by strategic idiocy, eg. picking a fight with every other major power at once.

He quotes Norman Stone (another academic who can sometimes be too clever for his own good) as saying German manpower was "inexhaustible" because each year the number of fresh eighteen-year old lads exceeded total German dead. This is flatly contradicted by Holger Herwig ("Germany and Austria-Hungary at War") who states that Germany was running out of manpower by the time she called up the Class of 1900, even before desertion became rampant.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Controversial, tough going - but worthwhile 24 Jan 2006
By Teemacs TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The First World War period has always fascinated me, because it changed everything, from the political geography of Europe to women’s fashions and (until recently) British licensing hours. Four empires perished (German, Austrian, Russian, Turkish) and another (British) was mortally wounded. It gave the world the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and an even worse war, and it marked the entrance of the USA on to the world stage. And it impacted the lives of ordinary people the world over; my grandmother’s two brothers (36th (Ulster) Division) and the two brothers of my wife’s grandmother (Australian Infantry Force) lie in France.
Did it have to be this way? Professor Ferguson regards it as essentially history’s biggest traffic accident. It was a war nobody wanted, but not only did it come but it also stayed for four years, in spite of the horrific cost in men and money. This is not a conventional battle-by-battle history; Ferguson takes an entirely different tack – he poses (and seeks to answer) ten questions:
1. Was war inevitable?
2. Why did Germany’s leaders gamble on war in 1914?
3. Why did Britain get involved in a Continental war?
4. Was the war really greeted with popular enthusiasm?
5. Did propaganda and the press keep the war going?
6. Why did the huge economic superiority of the British Empire not inflict defeat on the Central Powers more quickly, and without US assistance?
7. Why did the military superiority of the German army fail to deliver victory over the French and the British on the Western Front?
8. Why did men keep fighting in the appalling conditions?
9. Why did men stop fighting?
10. Who won the peace?
The answers he comes up with are occasionally surprising.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the beginner 2 Sep 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is not a narrative - it is for those who have already read widely about the Great War, and want to have their existing ideas challenged. Nor is it a blood-and-guts book, despite the very personal introduction about the author's grandfather and his war service.
But I feel D.A. O'Neil's review rather mistakes the purpose of the book, and is less than fair to it. It is, indeed, "dry" stuff compared with Barbara Tuchman or Lyn MacDonald, but if your object is to *understand* what happened, and how something else might easily have happened instead, this book is well woth buying and reading in full, though not necessarily at one sitting.
The author is primarily an *economic* historian, and is not setting out to answer questions about what happened and why at a battlefield level. He has a better understanding than many of his kind of the fact that wars are not determined exclusively by social and economic factors, but by who "gets there fustest with the mostest" and how they fight when they get there; but he is more interested in the external factors that influence these things - in particular the "sinews of war", the material resources that enable states to raise, train, equip, feed and pay troops, which are often forgotten.
Ferguson demonstrates at least two very surprising things about the War: that the Allies were much richer in resources than the Central Powers, but failed to make that advantage tell on the battlefield for almost four years; and that the Germans were militarily much more effective, in terms of killing their enemies, but still lost. He does not give a quick or glib answer to these questions, but that is a strength, not a weakness.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent
Published 15 days ago by PWD
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book - definitive history of this war
Brillian as usual by Niall Ferguson. Going behind the obvious into the personal, political, human and of course economic reasons this was was fought and one. A must-read!
Published 25 days ago by Mr Gareth R Pritchard
3.0 out of 5 stars 90's Book, Not Updated for 2014
I had expected this would be a new book from the TV show. Turns out to be a 90's book, not even in a new edition. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rob
2.0 out of 5 stars Load of Tosh
Written by an economist rather than an historian....what a complete load of tosh. Read virtually anything else on the subject.
Published 4 months ago by Mark Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative contrary history of WW1
Niall Ferguson relishes an opportunity to revisit and revise accepted historical thought, and this book is no different. Read more
Published 4 months ago by History Geek
5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensable companion to any study of the First World War
‘The Pity of War’, despite its personal, gentle and engaging introduction which sees the War through the experiences of a long dead grandfather and the author’s own school and... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jonathan F. Vernon
5.0 out of 5 stars a sane view of an insane war
While slightly academic in style, this is nonetheless a compelling, clear and logical analysis of the events leading up to the First World War and the very horrible mistakes that... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. P. Czyzak-dannenbaum
4.0 out of 5 stars Controversial and interesting.
This was recommended (with a disclaimer that it was highly controversial) by my tour guide for the French World War One battlefields. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Paul Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
A wonderful read, detailed when necessary and the author's extensive knowledge and research offer a unique insight. A must read for anyone interested in World War One.
Published 14 months ago by DWebster
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Good book added to collection, will be enjoyed fully when needed, very useful and a great addition, will be added to my teaching library!
Published 15 months ago by O
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback