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25 Reviews
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good But Treat With Caution
AJP Taylor was always one of my favourite historians - far more readable than most - and this book is no exception. As the title implies, it is heavier on illustrations than text, but none the worse for that.

Contrary to what some have said, it is not primarily a diatribe against the generals. Taylor may not especially like them (how many do, aside from the...
Published on 24 Mar. 2010 by M. W. Stone

versus
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but for the wrong reasons.
AJP Taylor was considered one of the giants of the British historical community. He is the one historian just about every GCSE pupil will have heard of, largely as his works seem to be the most widely quoted in school history text books on the Great War. Which is a shame in a way. Taylor's strength was never in running with the pack. His great strength, a strength that is...
Published on 28 Oct. 2000


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5.0 out of 5 stars The Classic Text, 19 April 2014
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This review is from: The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin Books) (Paperback)
A.J.P.Taylor's account of the First World War is now at odds with trendy revisionist historians some of whom who seem to think that thirty million casualties was a price worth enduring to stem German objectives. In a very concise and well illustrated text, A.J.P describes the almost ludicrous quirks of fate that led to war and its tragic and avoidable consequences. There are many other books on the subject but this still stands out as an excellent introduction for younger readers with a dim view of authority.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Clever and accessible, 14 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin Books) (Paperback)
A J P Taylor is a brilliant writer and historian. He could be irritating. Many contemporaries did not like him, probably because he made history popular and made money from it. He was a clever TV performer and has a unique style, direct and precise.

This is probably one of his classic books. It is easy to read, yet explains a complex subject well. In the world of turmoil he returns to the position of the man and woman on the ground and asks what they think.

I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars pointless battles fought by heroes, 12 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin Books) (Paperback)
I have been a devotee of The Great War for many years and have read shed-loads about it. From complicated explanations of why it begun through to excessive details about battles on the western front that were fought by heroic men under the direction of stubborn, bordering upon stupid, generals, that cost thousands upon thousand of lives, all of which ended as stalemates. I knew of AJP Taylor’s book but never got around to reading it until now. In my very limited experience, Taylor was one of the finest historians of the 20th century blessed with a unique ability to tell it as it is. This book, written by a man blessed with enormous common sense, is an excellent read. He explains clearly that on the Western Front, once won side made a breach in the defences of the other, the advance could never be maintained because there wasn’t an efficient method for the supply of ammunition and general supplies. Inevitably, an advance would stop and everyone would go back to square 1. Sadly, it took both sides five years to figure this out and to realize that an outright victory would never be achieved on the Western Front. Taylor puts all of this into perspective. He also, rather by accident in my view, gives a unique insight into the Russian revolution and how the whole thing was engineered by just a few people. That Russia withdrew from the war that in turn enabled Luddendorf to transfer yet more divisions to the Western Front, made little impact on the war’s outcome. I daresay that professional historians have, or, will dismiss this book as lacking in detail. However, to me that’s the strength of the book; it is readable! The black and white pictures are superb and include aspects of WWI that I didn’t know about. My view is that the Western front was fought by heroes in pointless armed struggles. Nothing Taylor says dissuades me from this conclusion although the armistice did allow the restoration of the Belgian state (and indirectly, of course many others), which was far from pointless. I could go on, but will do much better by referring you to this book as an absolute requirement if you want to begin to understand that dreadful conflict.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Jimbowar, 1 Jan. 2014
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This book gives a good understanding of why AJPT was so very successful and at the same time disapproved of by many professional historians. Perhaps his views on the causes and responsibilities for the carnage in WW1 have worn well and are not so far from current thoughts. The pictures are interesting but unfortunately the maps do not work well on Kindle, or a PC and the script is more or less impossible to read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A concise overview of the great war, 24 July 2013
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This review is from: The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin Books) (Paperback)
If you want a quick introduction into WW I, without getting to much details: read Taylor.
It is WW I in a nutshell and a good starting point for further reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent treatment by an excellent writer, 17 Aug. 2011
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D. Coplowe (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin Books) (Paperback)
AJP Taylor's books, like his lecture when alive, are a lesson to anyone in how to present clearly and simply the most obtuse facts. An excellent book for laymen interested in the WW1 and for historians alike
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4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version, 22 Jun. 2011
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The narrative in this book is well written, pacy and enjoyable. It is clear that there is opinion (and some humour) in there but that is what makes it readable.

For the Kindle version the pictures don't really work. The formating is poor and many of the pictures are missing (just their captions are visible). Because of the quality of the photographs the Kindle's screen struggles to give more than an impression of what they look like.

But that doesn't detract from the quality of the text which is worth the money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for the book content. 2 Stars for the Seller's description, 2 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin Books) (Paperback)
The actual book content is excellent and should be read by everybody with an interest in the first world war.
Book condition did not quite match the seller's description. Included stamping marks from a grammar school library!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars I used to have the original hardback which was excellent - this reprint is in smaller type, 22 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin Books) (Paperback)
A seminal and highly readable account in Taylors' unique style. I used to have the original hardback which was excellent - this reprint is in smaller type, and both that and the photographic reproduction is disappointing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 28 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin Books) (Paperback)
Average deliver but with a different cover then pictured
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The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin Books)
The First World War: An Illustrated History (Penguin Books) by A J P Taylor (Paperback - 28 Mar. 1974)
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