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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, if somewhat superficial
This book offers a broad view of the First World War, which is both the book's strength and its weakness. The book is a collection of essays addressing various topics and periods in the war, each written by the leading experts in the field. While this generally ensures knowledgable overviews, the lack of continuity of interpretation (so were the Germans suffering from a...
Published on 30 April 2001 by MarkK

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars useful start
This is a collection of essays, some more useful than others but overall, a good start to researching 1st World war
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, if somewhat superficial, 30 April 2001
By 
MarkK (Phoenix, AZ, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This book offers a broad view of the First World War, which is both the book's strength and its weakness. The book is a collection of essays addressing various topics and periods in the war, each written by the leading experts in the field. While this generally ensures knowledgable overviews, the lack of continuity of interpretation (so were the Germans suffering from a lack of artillery in 1918 or weren't they?) can be annoying at times. Furthermore, the limitations on the length of the various chapters means that even the most important subject receives only a cursory treatment at best. Overall, it's a good introduction to the war, though one that should be supplemented by additional reading in the bibliographies provided.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good skim, 3 Feb. 2014
By 
Mike Watkinson (Norfolk, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This is not, as one review says, the work of *an* expert, but of many; Hew Strachan is the editor, rather than than the author, and is not even a contributor per se. It may be a little unfair to award an excellent overview of WWI less than 5*, but as another reviewer points out, the fact that it is an overview is a weakness as well as a strength.

The production of the hardback version of this (which is the one I own) is of high quality, which makes the best of the illustrations unlike, for example, the cheap paper used in Random House's Forgotten Voices series. A nice touch is the inclusion of some 2 dozen colour plates. Inevitably, given the lack of colour photography at the time (it was not unknown, but was very much in its infancy at the time), most of these are paintings & posters (4 are modern photographs; 2 of commemorations, one of a genuine Mark V tank; the fourth would appear to be of the only flying original SE5, part of the Shuttleworth Collection). In addition to that, many of the illustrations, both colour & black & white, I have not seen elsewhere. From the point of view of information, it is an excellent overview, on the whole.

Its weaknesses, however, are that, at 350-odd pages it is rather too short, and the "Illustrated" in the title is a bit of a misnomer. Most overview histories of such a large & complex subject run to several hundred pages more than this. It does itself a disservice by trying to compress too much. As for the illustrations, whilst they are reasonably plentiful, I have seen other books with as many that don't call themselves "Illustrated". Therefore, whilst the quality & variety is good, the number perhaps doesn't warrant the claim. Finally, it is worth noting that there seems to be a new edition due out, unsurprisingly, in April 2014, which is a little longer at around 420 pages. I obviously cannot comment on that; for this edition 4* seems, to me, to be a fair review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for academic survey essays on a wide number of aspects of the war, 23 April 2014
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Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This is an updated second edition of the Oxford Illustrated History, and contains 24 survey-style academic essays on various aspects of WW1. Strachan’s introduction is very good at problematising the ways in which the war is still conceived and spoken of (‘global’, ‘total’, ‘modern’), and in thinking through the implications of these categories.

The essays themselves are written by academic historians, leaders in their individual fields, and cover modern thinking on the causes of the war, economic warfare, the various theatres (the Balkans, Africa, war at sea), the role of women, propaganda, revolutions, and peace settlements. The book ends with a survey of how the war has been remembered, and fictionalised, throughout the twentieth century. Each essay is followed by a brief bibliography of further reading.

So this isn’t a book for anyone wanting a personal or dramatic view of the war, but is perfect for undergraduates, or general interested readers, working on any of the aspects of war who need a brief and timely overview of where research is currently.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First world war, 11 Oct. 2013
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A very detailed book written by a series of scholars.
Not as easy to read as Catastrophe by Max Hastings but much more depth.
Some very interesting illustrations
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well written and informative overview, 5 Dec. 2013
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This is a series of articles written by recognised academics in the field. It takes a thematic, rather than a chronological, approach to the war. Thorough and well written, it is particularly useful if you are wish to understand the broader issues and themes relating to the war. However, if you want to understand the key battles in detail then you would be better looking at the Osprey "Essential Histories" series.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible summary by one of the real experts, 25 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War (Oxford Illustrated Histories) (Hardcover)
Strachan is one of the main authorities on the war. Here what's especially useful is the way he makes clear the global nature of the conflict, putting
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars useful start, 30 Mar. 2014
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This is a collection of essays, some more useful than others but overall, a good start to researching 1st World war
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Mar. 2015
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good item arrived within dates stated.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Feb. 2015
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John H. Williams (Cardiff Wales) - See all my reviews
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Great book cant do without it
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, 24 Dec. 2012
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A very nice book that attracts the reader by its wonderful illustration, it makes you want to flip the pages over and over! What is more it analyzes in depth many aspects of the WWI somewhat unknown to many people. Very good indeed.
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