2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books about WW1...
I'm a bit late in reading and reviewing Adam Hochschild's book about WW1, "To End All Wars", but it is one of the best of the many books I've read on the subject. A relatively short book - 375 pages of text - Hochschild writes mainly about the Home Front and how military and political and personal decisions together made a 4-1/2 year war-to-end-all-wars a living hell for...
Published 18 months ago by Jill Meyer
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To end all wars - not really.
Adam Hochschild has produced a readable and different view point to the oft told of the First World War and its consequences. It however focuses on "famous personalities " which tend to draw the narrative away from what should have been a more scholarly approach. The interest in Keir Hardy, Pankhurst Family, Haig and Milner though important in themselves tended to make...
Published on 20 Jun 2011 by Francis Peters
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books about WW1...,
I'm a bit late in reading and reviewing Adam Hochschild's book about WW1, "To End All Wars", but it is one of the best of the many books I've read on the subject. A relatively short book - 375 pages of text - Hochschild writes mainly about the Home Front and how military and political and personal decisions together made a 4-1/2 year war-to-end-all-wars a living hell for most people involved.
Hochschild does write about some of the battles; his writing about the Battle of Passchendaele in low-lying Flanders (Belgium), where many of the casualties were literally killed by drowning in the water-soaked lowlands of the battlefield gives new meaning to the word "futile". The hundreds of thousands of casualties at the Battle of the Somme, which began on July 1, 1915 and ended 4 months later, was the result of bad leadership by British Commander Sir Douglas Haig. Hochschild's book is a litany of bad decisions made by military leaders on both sides.
But if Adam Hochschild writes about the military side of the war, he's excellent in covering the political and societal sides of the war, in both Britain and Germany. He writes about how people found common ground in both prosecuting the war and others in objecting to it. Families which were split apart; some members favored the war, while others rallied against it. This is a great, well-rounded look at that "War to End All Wars".
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The First World War and its discontents,
The outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 was greeted in Great Britain with a massive show of unity. Men of fighting age rushed to enlist, while organizations and factions set aside their differences in order to face their new common enemy. Yet such support was not universal. As widespread as the demonstration of enthusiasm for the war was, a committed handful stood in stubborn defiance against the conflict. Adam Hochschild's book details their often lonely struggle against the backdrop of the war they so passionately opposed. In it, he attempts to provide an understanding of the choices they made, showing why they refused to subordinate their conscience to the war effort and the prices they paid for their stance.
The people Hochschild focuses on are a select group, men and women who are bound by family and personal ties to the British elite. He starts by charting the origin of the opposition of some of them to war by detailing their opposition to an earlier conflict, the Boer War. The fighting there led people such as Charlotte Despard, Emily Hobhouse, and the Pankhursts to campaign against the British war effort. For them, opposing the war was just one of many causes they undertook, as the activists Hochschild highlights were often at the forefront of radical reform in Edwardian Britain. Yet the outbreak of the war against Germany created deep divisions among their ranks, even to the point of tearing apart families such as the Pankhursts. Their stand provoked considerable public derision, and most of them were subjected to surveillance and obstruction by the authorities. Yet Hochschild sees their fight as all the more noble for its futility, ultimately granting them the larger moral victory despite the hopelessness of their cause.
All of this Hochschild describes in an engrossing narrative that conveys well the drama and tragedy of his subject. He is especially good at detailing the relationships between his characters, such as that between Despard and her brother John French, the first commander of the British Expeditionary Force. If there is a villain in his account it is Douglas Haig, whose obstinacy Hochschild savages for fueling the bloodshed. Yet for all of its strengths Hochschild's book suffers from a lack of focus. Often his subjects disappear for pages as he describes the more familiar tale of the overall course of the war; while this can illustrate what excited the passions of its opponents, the considerable amount of space the author devotes to it distracts more often than it enhances his story. While the strengths of Hochschild's narrative outweigh this deficiency, it does limit his achievement with this book, which offers an interesting look at an aspect of the First World War often ignored by other chroniclers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars moving and thought provoking,
There is an excellent review in Amazon titled 'not what it says on the the tin' I read it and initially chuntered because at start the book seemed to be very much about the dissenters. However, by the end of reading the book I very much agreed with the author of that review. In someways it is a bit hard to classify what the book is about. It is more a broad history of the first world war and its consequences with emphasis on some unusual protagonists. It is not a massively detailed history and it is largely told from the perspective of the Brits.
Adam Hochschild is a brilliant writer. This is the second book of his that I have read. The first being King Leopold's Ghost. In my opinion King Leopold's ghost is perfect, while to End of All Wars is very good but has small flaws.
As noted in other reviews, the book starts more or less with the Boer war. This was a perfect place to start because it introduces the rapid repeat machine gun and how it changed modern warfare (something the wwI generals did not ever seem to get to grips with). It also introduces and establishes the main protagonists for the book.
Adam Hochschild clearly did a lot of research in writing the book, but with his journalist's eye he knows what to tell and what to leave out and he always finds the interesting details to tell which make you sit up. I never really thought about the legacy of metal and bombs left in the fields of Flanders. I had only ever known of Emmaline Pankhurst as a heroine of women's equality. The picture AH paints is much more complex. Douglas Hird came across to me as one of the greatest mass murders in the 20th century, though AH does make the case that his sheer pigheadedness probably contributed to the Allies winning the war at a point when Germany looked like they could win the field.
The Germans struck me as vastly more intelligent and creative in trying to solve the deadlock of trench warfare. I never realized how close they came to winning the war. All in all by the end of the book, I felt I needed to learn more and have just bought 'The Great War' DVDs as the next easy step in my education.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in history and current affairs.,
Spellbinding! A truly great read and very informative. It gives an incredible perspective on the impact of the First World War and the shaping of our current society.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Thought Provoking Book,
This review is from: To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (Audio CD)
“To End All Wars” is a history of World War I from an alternative perspective. It provides a rare blend of warriors and pacifists, Western Front and home front, generals and conscientious objectors. Set mostly in England, it makes rare forays into the American socialist and pacifist movements, marvels at the triumph of the Russian workers and, in the end, chronicles the desertions and revolutionary movements in Germany.
Like all successful alternative views, “To End All Wars” raises questions, explicitly on its pages and in the readers’ minds. Who were the heroic and wise, the men who fought the war or the pacifists who opposed it? Who were the patriots, the soldiers in the trenches or the draft resisters in prisons? Where did the real interests of the masses lie, with their countries or with their fellow proletariat across Europe? Were they inspired or duped? Depending on their points of view, readers will answer those questions differently, and will raise others. I am left with one question in my mind. Was it military victory and the influx of American troops that brought an end to the war or the socialist ideology that spread from revolutionary Russia into Germany and was seeping into the Allied Armies? Ultimately was it the blowback from the sealed train that took Lenin to Russia that eroded public support for the war in Germany? That is a question that I will be exploring as we progress through the Great War Centennial. This book is not a starting point or a general history of the war but it is a thought provoking work for anyone who wonders why and how the Great War developed as it did.
5.0 out of 5 stars revelatory,
Revelatory book about the hidden facts behind the Great War; it will change the way you think about it, after only a few pages. Remarkable journalism turned into a flowing narrative.
5.0 out of 5 stars An account of courage and fortitude in resistance to World War 1,
This review is from: To End All Wars: A Story of Protest and Patriotism in the First World War (Kindle Edition)
This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the history of resistance to World War 1. Hochschild is an American historian with a deep knowledge of resistance in Britain. He combines stories of those who opposed the war with stories of passionate advocates for war. Sometimes these are from the same families, for example Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst. The book contains many photographs and is very much the story of personalities. All of these people, whether conscientious objectors or those who supported them, show great courage and fortitude.
Hochschild shows scholarship and sympathy in this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read,
A wonderful and moving insight into the horrors of WW1 . Difficult to imagine that anyone will not be moved after this reading this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Challenging but worthwhile Read,
I found this a refreshingly different approach to dealing with complexities of the causes and effects of the first World War. It was fascinating to view the war from the perspective of key individuals such as Charlotte Despard, her brother Sir John French, the Pankhursts and Rudyard Kipling. The relevance of background events such as the Boer War was something I had not thought about. The industrial unrest that was going on though-out Europe and troubles in the Suffragette Movement were also new to me. Adam Hochschild has written a most thought- provoking book which exposes in lucid and well-written prose the horrors of this war.
5.0 out of 5 stars Division during great war,
Many books have been written during span of one hundred years of Great War, and many would be written in future also.
why this war named to be ^Great War^ because Britain fought it for noble cause- for the noble cause of Belgium and France resulting disaster for the Great Britain. It was premonition at the death of Queen Victoria that it is doubtful if the Great Britain would continue to enjoy the days as enjoyed by her during heyday of Victoria. The Britain suffered a lot, lost the3 great empire due to this war, 192000 women became widowed and 400000 children orphaned. Even then P M lost his elder son, future PM lost his son every high and low participated in this war not for one year but for more than 4 years. Rudyard Kipling lost his only son John Kipling^ He was John to all the world , but he was all world to us^ This is why this book is unique. It is good that a chapter has been inserted in it namely ^Not this tide^
^Has anyone else has world of him
Not this tide
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing and this tide^ Rudyard Kipling from My boy Jack
This book is well researched and written in simple language showing how harmful this War was for Great Britain and how the people differed. It was the greatness of its people who endured the pain with fortitude, courage and dignity even other countries left in mid as Russia. I enjoyed the book and recommend that those who have literally taste should compulsorily read it
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To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild (Audio CD - 3 May 2011)
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