Peter White

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Top Reviewer Ranking: 571,053 - Total Helpful Votes: 1 of 1
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading, 27 Jun 2014
This book covers the run up to the First World War, with a heavy concentration on the Balkans, and in particular on Serbia and its various backers and opponents. The perspective is very much about how the Great Power manoeuvring around the Balkans led to the disaster. In that sense it's slightly unconventional : for example, German power politics and naval conflict gets very little coverage, compared to the Balkans. It's almost an afterthought what happened when the Balkans pulled the trigger.

It paints a carefully crafted, readable and fascinating picture of the governments of the time, with their deep internal conflicts (in many countries the army and the civilian leadership… Read more
Engines of War: How Wars Were Won and Lost on the &hellip by Christian Wolmar
The author writes well, and the book is very readable, but the research seems patchy.

It often gives the impression that he only read one book on the military history of each period and refers to that book repeatedly and uncritically. As a result his views are definitely one sided; he comes across as an uncritical advocate of the controversial "Lions Led by Donkeys" view of the First World War, without justifying it in the slightest, for example.

To be fair, the author is quite open in his introduction and notes about having limited knowledge of military history (as opposed to railway history), and it's a good read. As a result I would still recommend this for… Read more
Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Year&hellip by Peter H. Wilson
Extremely well written. Drawbacks first - the book is very long, and the war does not even start until page 269, so if you aren't interested in the detail 17th century politics, move along please (though if you are, then of course these are not drawbacks). The single overview map is pretty dire and inadequate as usual, though the many battle maps are excellent.

On the positive side, the book is clear, incisive, comprehensive, well written and extremely readable, with (absolutely critical for such a work) an excellent index. It'll probably stand the test of time as the best single volume reference for the war, though both Parker and Wedgwood give it a run for its money if you… Read more

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