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144 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Failure of Brinkmanship
'Preventive war is like committing suicide out of fear of death' (Bismarck).

'It had to come' (US Ambassador in London, 1914).

'Torture and Cannibalism were the only two expedients that the civilised, scientific, Christian States had been able to deny themselves:and these were of doubtful utility'. (W.Churchill).

'Please restrain Conrad'...
Published 19 months ago by Dr Barry Clayton

versus
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, precise language but so repetitive
They Were Counted (The Writing on the Wall: the Transylvanian Trilogy)

I was so excited about this book because Prof. Macmillan's general reviews have been excellent and I have just finished the Transylvanian Trilogy which she quotes (link above) so getting a better idea of the causes of WWI was of great interest.

There is no doubt that Prof...
Published 17 months ago by H. M. Sykes


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5.0 out of 5 stars I found this a fascinating and readable book giving me ..., 14 Aug. 2014
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I found this a fascinating and readable book giving me a new insight , might read more of her work. I chose it because of the BBC radio 4 series
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars thoroughy informatively, 18 Dec. 2013
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Very thorough in creating the build up to war and all the actors involved. A simple list of names and roles would have been helpful to keep track of the various protagonists. Overall easy to read and informative
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5.0 out of 5 stars ... and social pressures that built to ensure that the Great War was inevitable, 20 Aug. 2014
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Comprehensive and detailed study of the worldwide political and social pressures that built to ensure that the Great War was inevitable.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Clarity of Writiing, 31 July 2014
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In this book Professor Margaret McMillan has written the clearest account humanly possible of the manifold causes, both long term and short, of the First World War.

The clear and pacey writing style make the pages turn rapidly.

Although understatement is the author's preference, one is nonetheless struck by the strutting be-uniformed stupidity of the Austrian general Conrad and his German counterpart Moltke and their treatment of the huge risks to European stability and human life like a couple of addicted gamblers throwing the dice.

Their baleful legacy was the slaughter of millions of young men across Europe and beyond, along with those countless young women in the 1920s who had no one left to marry. And all those never to be born children.

The foolish, autistic posturing of the Kaiser finally rendered him unable to reject the insane counsel of his war obsessed advisers - whom he had appointed in the first place.

Moreover, the Tsar was by temperament hopelessly unsuited to reasoned and calibrated decision making and he too accepted impetuous, warmongering advice,

The consequent world war ruptured many years of peace, scientific advancement, rising wages for workers, increasing trade and growing prosperity within the powers of Europe.

A golden age was well under way before August 1914 and it will baffle the reader as to why on earth it all had to end.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Gem!, 1 May 2014
If, like me, you believe the Second World War was really little more than an extension of the first, understanding how it all started goes a long way to putting the 20th century into perspective. Margaret MacMillan does a brilliant job of it in this book.

It’s easy to criticize the individuals involved in making the decisions that led Europe to war in 1914. Perhaps a little too easy. To fully appreciate how a tragedy of this magnitude could be allowed to happen, one really needs to step back and look at the period in question as a whole, the politics of the age and the social and economic trends that conspired to lull so many into a false sense of security in what was, in retrospect, a powder keg waiting for a match. This book is a detailed, thoroughly researched and brilliantly written account, offering a look at the wider picture so essential to gaining a true understanding of the period. From the inherent dangers of autocratic rule to the influence of social Darwinism and the unintended consequences of strategic alliances, the author exposes the intriguing web of interconnected circumstances and historic shifts that conspired in the most monumental calamity of the modern age.

I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone wishing to gain a deeper insight into this dark chapter in history, much of which still shapes the continent today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book on the First World War, 2 Aug. 2014
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Very well written. Authoritative and articulate. Very clear account of how the First War started. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you're interested in the causes of the great war then I can't recommend this book enough, 21 July 2014
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Superb book. If you're interested in the causes of the great war then I can't recommend this book enough.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellously illuminating count-down to WWI, 14 April 2014
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Hardcover)
Macmillan's lively study of the various contributing factors to a European slaughter as pointless as unavoidable, shows how decisions of a defensive nature by the major players added up in the long run to a general offensive --- a war long awaited as inevitable, and which could have been sparked at several flash-points before 1914. But every diplomatic solution seemed to leave less room for manoeuvre in the future, till the cataclysm (or should one say orgasm?) of nationalist exuberance found its outlet and downfall in the trenches. Lessons for the future? Can resurgent China be accommodated in the world order, as Wilhelmine Germany could not? After its 1905 debacle against Japan and 1908 humiliation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Russia was set on re-asserting itself. Does the same hold true for present-day Russia, after the debacle of the Soviet Union and (as it believes) humiliation in Kosovo? Given recent events in Ukraine, one is inclined to say, yes. Ominous.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and well written., 8 April 2015
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Hardcover)
Fascinating and well written. A period of history I knew very little about. Thoroughly recommend this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 26 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Hardcover)
An epic in all senses with an immense amount of detail about the idiots that were responsible for WW1.
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The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War
The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War by Professor Margaret MacMillan (Hardcover - 17 Oct. 2013)
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