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Going against a century of received wisdom, Bilkent University professor McMeekin offers a dramatic new interpretation of WWI...Rifling the archives, analyzing battle plans, and sifting through the machinations of high diplomacy, McMeekin reveals the grand ambitions of czarist Russia, which wanted control of the Black Sea straits to guarantee all-weather access to foreign markets. Maneuvering France and England into a war against Germany presented the best chance to acquire this longed-for prize. No empire had more to gain from the coming conflict, and none pushed harder to ensure its arrival. Once unleashed, however, the conflagration leapt out of control, and imperial Russia herself ranked among its countless victims. Publishers Weekly 20110926 Casting a contrarian eye on the first major conflict of the twentieth century, Sean McMeekin finds the roots of WWI inside Russia, whose leaders deliberately sought--for their own ends--to expand a brawl that the Germans wanted to keep local. The author tracks the fallout of these antique plots right down to the present geopolitical landscape. Barnes & Noble Review 20120113 An entirely new take on the origins of World War I comes as a surprise. If war guilt is to be assigned, this book argues, it should go not only (or even primarily) to Germany--the long-accepted culprit--but also to Russia...Bold reading between the lines of history. -- Robert Legvold Foreign Affairs 20120101 As Sean McMeekin argues in this bold and brilliant revisionist study, Russia was as much to blame as Germany for the outbreak of the war. Using a wide range of archival sources, including long-neglected tsarist documents, he argues that the Russians had ambitions of their own (the dismantling of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, no less) and that they were ready for a war once they had secured a favorable alliance with the British and the French. -- Orlando Figes Sunday Times 20120101 The book is a refreshing challenge to longstanding assumptions and shifted perspectives are always good. -- Miriam Cosic The Australian 20120303
Sean McMeekin is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Bilkent University in Turkey.
this is one of the best historical works of the decade; very well written; very carefully argued and commands vast archival material including the recent. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Prof Emeritus Faruk Birtek
Terrific stuff. It would have been 5 stars were it not for the author's strange ideas about naval history: imaginary purchases of Chilean and Argentinian battleships by Turkey (I... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Red Admiral
Magnificent read. A different view at long last on the origins of the Great War. Anyone interested in this period of our history should pick this one up. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Erik
The Russians are so often ignored by British writers on WWI. This book is very accessible and helps to redress that balance.Published 20 months ago by Commercial lawyer
At last I understand the reasons for the start of the Great War. Witty and very interesting. Wish I had bought the Hard copy and not Kindle.Published 21 months ago by seadog
I found it to be a fascinating read. Sean McMeekin's thesis that Russia is at least just as much responsible for WWI as Germany, and maybe even more so than Germany is worth... Read morePublished on 20 Aug. 2013 by Edgar Wagner
This book is well researched and offers perspectives that were missing from the history taught when I was at school in the 1970's. Read morePublished on 10 Jun. 2013 by A Wandering European
Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware! Here, some points about this volume to ponder that are not entirely covered by other reviewers on Amazon. co. uk and on the internet generally. Read morePublished on 27 May 2013 by PC-History
Western histories on the origins of the war tend to use a very western European perspective; a tinder box of Central Powers vs Triple Entente with Sarajevo as the spark; and German... Read morePublished on 27 May 2013 by G. R. Townsend