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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book that I would reccommend to anyone.
Coming from a generation whose grandparents were involved in the Second and not the First World War, before I read John Keegan's book my only knowledge of the whole affair was limited. Although I had heard of names such as the Somme and Ypres and the great suffering that occurred there, I knew little else. Keegan's book has enabled me to increase my knowledge of this...
Published on 24 July 2000 by Andy Stephenson

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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inaccessible Reading
As much as I would agree with other reviewers that this is a well-researched book with a wealth of information on many aspects of the war, I found this incredibly difficult to get into. I felt that it was really dense, shifting between countries and treaties and statistics, without any real explanation. Approaching this book as a novice left me feeling disoriented...
Published on 2 Mar. 2012 by Dan


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book except for the maps, 13 Jan. 2008
By 
Cormac J. Sreenan "cjs" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The First World War (Hardcover)
A throughly absorbing and readable book, with excellent selection
of photographs. The only disappointment was that there are not
nearly enough maps and the level of detail is insufficient - the
author keeps referring to locations that are not shown on any of
the maps, making it hard to follow troop movements etc.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Keegans WW1, 26 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
I really like this book which is quite detailed and very informative on all aspects of the war revealing details of theatres of war I had not even known about. I only have one criticism and this is regarding the maps included of the battle zones, there are lots of places named on them but they are mainly not the same as those named in the narrative so I had to resort to other sources to identify the actual geographic locations (many thanks to the internet).

I requested this book as a Christmas present to go with the DVD set of the BBC's Great War series I had also requested, which I remember watching when it was first shown on TV. This was a great move since they really do complement one another with extra informatio on the DVD's as well as being able to see the actual historical people involved,

Well recommended
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I have read since 'Birdsong'., 21 Feb. 2000
This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
If you want to understand Kosvo, Bosnia or any of Europe's recent conflicts Keegan's book on the First World War is the place to begin. It is a real page turner, readable and full of interesting facts and insights. All you need is an interest in humanity to take part in a pacy tour d'horizon of man's inhumanity to man. For example, find out how the Indians fare in France, what really happened at Gallipoli, and as an English person the relatively small part the Battle of The Somme played in the overall theatre of war. I cannot recommend it highly enough and can't wait to read Keegan's Second World War.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent History Book, 15 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
There will be more interest in WW1 now that the anniversary is imminent. This is a story well told and in sufficient detail to inform the reader without being overwhelmed. He is ready to challenge some of A J P Taylor's views. Taylor is the most accessible of historians and has appeal to the mass market. His opinions are provocative if sometimes exaggerative.

This is a well written and fully researched history which I would recommend to anyone interested in the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 12 Sept. 2013
By 
Neil (Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The First World War: New Illustrated Edition (Hardcover)
Lots of illustrations make this book really great to read Well written lots of photos and maps. Would highly recommend
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very readable and informative history of World War 1, 3 Feb. 2000
This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
Very well written and puts the events associated with WW1 into their historical perspective. From the initial causes, through the relentless horror of the western trenches and eastern front, to the eventual 'fallout' of the armistice, the author provides both interesting facts and intelligent opinions. My only criticism of the book is the relative lack of maps and diagrams.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very good, 12 Feb. 2015
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I have purchased this as I have borrowed it so many times from the library that I thought I should really buy my own copy. This is a really good book it covers the First World War in great detail and is a valuable asset for anybody interested in finding out more about this period in history.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well constructive, but not on the AJP Taylor park..., 9 July 2001
By 
Jennifer Okonkwo "SteveP" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
I did enjoy this book, which was clearly constructed and included some telling observations. Where it was lacking was in characterisation, and at times had too much of an "end-to-end" feel. As if the author was racing too much. This was a reminder that the book was written as a piece of history, losing the kind of "contemporary" current affairs feel that AJP Taylor uses to bring the epoch to life. Still, a thoroughly good book that has a clear sense of direction, if not necessarily a ground-breaking set of observations or sensitivities.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The First World War, 7 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: The First World War (Hardcover)
This book really clarifies the causes, mistakes & successes of the "Great War" also the valour of that contemptable little army & also of the valour of the enemy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy, 15 Dec. 2010
By 
J. Duducu (Ruislip) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
I first discovered John Keegan by reading his underrated book on the American Civil War. It then occurred to me that I had never read a book that covered the whole of World War 1 and sought out a book that could do justice to such a huge topic.

Well here it is. John Keegan is a master at summarising complex situations and explaining them in a very accessible way. His chapter on how war broke out and all the points it could have been averted reads like a thriller. Unlike other books I have read on the great war focus on one event or one front which always lurch into intolerably dry lists of divisions and daily movements of troops. Keegan has to round up what happened, to whom and why and always does so without you thinking you have been short changed in depth. This is an amazing feat considering what he has to get through in a little over 400 pages.

The writing is effortless and opinion neutral. All sides have victories, all sides have failures and brutality is highlighted when it is warranted. The only revisionist part is where Keegan addresses the controversy surrounding the Western military leaders, pointing out how many anachronisms have been heaped on them. That's not to say that this is a love letter to Haig but more a realistic assessment of his flaws and strengths.

My personal opinion is that World War 1 is the most misunderstood event in history. In that most people have heard about it but then after than the popular view is all gas, trenches, inflexible generals and poetry. Keegan shows how wrong this view is, while never diminishing the horrors of the Western (and Eastern) front he shows there was a lot more going on than men sitting in trenches, being shelled and writing powerful verse.

In short this is an essential book on World War 1.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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