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72 Reviews
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Comparable
This excellent one volume by Hew Strachan is a reissue of the book first published in 2003. The author is a renowned professor of war at Oxford University. His book 'To Arms', the first volume of a trilogy yet to be completed, was greeted with aclaim by scholars worldwide. Strachan has also written a number of thought-provoking books on current strategy and the problems...
Published 13 months ago by Dr Barry Clayton

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Really good -- in parts
I have read all the rave reviews of this book on Amazon and on the book's cover -- such as "Quite simply the best short history of the war in print" and "Meticulous... [with] amazing, newly unearthed photographs within this beautifully designed book."

I can only envy the thorough knowledge of the war that others possess that enables them to praise so highly and...
Published 22 months ago by Jak


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5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Strachan has set the book out with very clear chapters which define segments of the war and make the war relatively easy to f, 17 Mar. 2015
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Very well written and concise history of WW1. I have read some other books about WW2, The Pacific War, Korean war which have been very difficult to keep track of main characters(Generals etc), battles, countries, geography and incumbents.
Mr Strachan has set the book out with very clear chapters which define segments of the war and make the war relatively easy to follow and grasp its magnitude.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent WW1 history, 22 April 2014
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This book is a pleasure to read.
The narrative has a flow to it missing from many WW1 histories which can overwhelm you with facts.
I would recommend reading it alongside watching the associated DVD set.
Each chapter in the book matches a volume in the box set.
The combination of written word & video really is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not "New" but great reading nonetheless., 31 Oct. 2014
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Potential purchasers and readers should understand: this is not "a New History", as Amazon is claiming. It was written more than ten years ago and "New" appears nowhere in the title. Rather, the Introduction is new, although this in no way detracts from the book which, as other reviewers point out, may be the definitive single-volume text on 1914-1918.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 11 Jan. 2015
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A very well written book with plenty of explanations as to wwhat was happening on all sides in the conflict. I enjoyed it even more due to the author not restriciting himeself to the Western Front, but llooking at all the theatres of the war, some obviously in more detail than others, but that is to be expected. Well worth reading.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book but some important question marks regarding Memory, 3 Feb. 2014
This review is from: The First World War: A New History (Paperback)
I realize that it may seem unduly harsh to deduct 3 stars from the book rating because of objections to its treatment of only a specific aspect of WWI. However, I believe that in the current context of reappearance of extreme ideologies in Europe, of the persistence of incidents of Shoah denial at high levels and the rise of moral relativism, it is better to err on the side of stressing Memory rather than getting bogged down to hair-splitting arguments about technical aspects of large scale killings.

One of the most prominent examples of the way the book treats some of the more human aspects of the war is the reference to the Armenian Genocide: The book (e.g. on page 114 of the 2005 Penguin edition of the book) contains very compelling and concrete evidence for the designation of the massacres as "genocide", but, despite this, it hesitates to call it a genocide. What is worse, part of the blame for not settling the issue is cast on the "readiness of Armenians and others to use the word 'genocide'" while in the very next sentence it is stated that the number of dead was likely around one million! When we are talking about such massive scale of destruction of human life, it is incredible that the author would expect people (not just Armenians) to not feel strongly about these events and to not insist on such a designation of the killings.

The main cause of the author's uncertainty on the designation of the massacres is some doubts on whether the killings were centrally organized or spontaneously perpetrated by the majority population. However, the facts given within the discussion of exactly this question make such doubts sound like legalistic pedantry at best. Specifically, it is stated that "By this stage-late May 1915-the Turkish leadership was ready to give shape to the whole, to Turkify Anatolia and to finish with the Armenian problem." (page 114 of the 2005 Penguin edition of the book), suggesting that it is not an issue of "whether" but of "when" it was centrally decided to "finish with the Armenian problem". After all this information provided in the book itself, the frustration of its author with those insisting on the designation "genocide" becomes incomprehensible.

That said, the book gives is an extended account of WWI offering an alternative interpretation of the mechanisms leading to the war and to the way it was conducted. For instance, it suggests that, although the war became a "world-war" at a later stage, its roots were always international because they touched upon European colonies and the associated system of international relations. It is further suggested that, because of the internal developments in various European countries, WWI was not a war driven only by interests but also by conflicts of ideologies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The must have succinct narrative of the First World War by an accomplished historian, 21 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The First World War: A New History (Paperback)
Studying for a Masters degree on the First World War you read hundreds of hefty and light texts that cover parts of the First World War, or the whole thing. For anyone taking a serious look at this conflict and wants the historians objective take on events, in a readable form, then this is the must have book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Suberb, 16 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: The First World War (Hardcover)
This should be on the 'must read' list of all our schools - an amazing coverage of one of the most important and baffling periods in world history. It is written in a style that brings all the horror of warfare to the reader and has altered my views on the world like no other publication could. Superb.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A historical documentary of WWl., 29 Jun. 2014
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If you are looking for facts and figures of WWl then this is for you. Very well documented, but at times hard to digest, not what you would describe as bed side reading, more for the purist, but if you can stay with it "a well worth read."
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you only have one book, 7 May 2014
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If you only have one book on the First World War this is the one. It is a relatively modern book which addresses the issues and does not regurgitate the same old myths.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative and concise, 1 May 2014
Truly excellent. This is a short book, given the scale of the subject matter, but clearly a product of vast learning and research. It breathes authority. This should reach AJP Taylor's short history as the standard short book on the subject.
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The First World War: A New History
The First World War: A New History by Hew Strachan (Paperback - 2 May 2006)
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