19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an accidental war...
If you think that the European powers stumbled into the Great War by accident; that the generals were numbskulls who learned nothing from the slaughter on the Somme or at Verdun; or that the sudden collapse of Germany in 1918 owed little to British and French efforts, then read this book and think again.
This is a superb history of World War One, clearly...
Published on 4 Jan 2009 by I. S. Barker
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars like a 1914 artillery shoot this book sometimes misses it's mark
The author approaches his theme by using a succession of different themes rather than a linear narrative. This leads to a lot of duplication in the text which gets a bit dull as you plough through the book. You tend to get the same facts repeated in each section without ever expanding on the information given. The curious result of this is a book that manages to be both...
Published on 28 Sep 2012 by Amazon Customer
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History writing at its best!,
great content but very small print! I purchased this for a military history course and it has been very useful.
3.0 out of 5 stars I need another book,
Beliigerents' governmental permutations in the Great War of Lloyd George leading the British Empire against German imperialism in the Flanders, the east front notwithstanding, with detailed accounts of shell expulsion and gun production.
read it with frequent periods of stalemate, found out lots about shell producion levels and party politics in the UK and some of France, little about the course of the war.
not at all what I expected or what I wanted to find out.
for people who already know something about the war, I can't see it adds much knowledge. for those who would like to find out about it, it's confusing.
appreciate the effort, but I want somehting completely different.
5.0 out of 5 stars This should be a must read for everyone especially those at the top who make decisions about going to war.,
This has to be one of the best books on WW1 that has been written, it deals with the history but concentrates more on the circumastances for the start of the war and Britain entering the war, and the great industrial impact the war had, how people grew rich helping Britain fund the war, and the implications of running a war that bled this country dry both in terms of the financial cost and the enormous human cost in what was in some cases a pointless futile event, explaining the sacrificial battles that were fought just to appease Britains allies, and also at the inept bungling of the men at the top who sat well behind the lines sending men and boys to die in their thousands.
3.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative but complex and a heavy read,
Very authoritative and complete, but a *very* hard read. Long complex and convoluted events explained in a long complex and convoluted manner. In the early chapters I had to re-read sentences 5 times. In the end I struggled through and finished it and felt I had definitely learned a lot about WW1 and in that respect give it a 3* rating. I actually found the subject-organised chapters good, to aid analysis of the events (like - how come people [initially] supported the war?). Purely-chronological doesn't always tell you what's behind the events. But given a fresh start, I think I'd try and find a different book
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive but not an easy read,
This is obviously a comprehensive history on WW1 and the way it presents the history (as a meta analysis as another reviewer put it) does really help in understanding the complete history and context of the war. So all the information and detail you could want is included in the book. But, and this is a big but, its a very dry and really not a very enjoyable read.
I'm the kind of person that likes to finish a book but this one nearly got me. I read several others before finally coming back to this one and finishing it off. I had to adopt some "speed reading" approaches of basically skimming details and text because it was just too dry otherwise. In the end I feel that I certainly leant a lot and my knowledge and understanding of WW1 has improved greatly but I really didn't enjoy reading this book.
I think its down to both the style of writing and depth of the subject in what is relatively a short book (601 pages excluding refs and end notes). Its just too dense to make an easy read and the authors style and content don't allow for any personal stories or flowing narrative to come through.
If you really want to learn about WW1 then this is a good book (on increased knowledge grounds I'd give it 5 stars) but for easy of reading it really is only a 1 or 2 star affair. Overall somewhere in the middle, hence my rating.
20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book about the First World War at present :o),
Readers should notice that 1914-1918: the History of the First World War (Penguin Press, 2004) is also published by Basic Books (New York) as Cataclysm: the First World War as Political Tragedy.
This book is very good, and gives an analytical and balanced view of the First World War. It must be the best book about the First World War at present. Mr Stevenson has made an interesting divison of the period in his book by focusing on cross-cutting issues in the middle of the war.
It is striking how close Germany was to winning the war if they themselves have not brought the UK and especially the USA in by violating Belgiums territory and with the unrestricted submarine war/Zimmermann telegram respectively. Just when Germany had defeated Russia due to the revolution, she brought the USA into the war. The only which was even more mad was that Hitler repeated the mistake in the Second World War by declaring war on the USA after Pearl Harbor. I think that without the USA in the equation Germany would with all likelihood have prevailed in both world wars.
I can recommend to supplement this reading with Annika Monbauers Helmuth von Moltke and the Origins of the First World War, which shows how the General staff operated in Germany without the same political control as in France for instance, where the chief of the General Staff Joffre had to let go of the idea of a strike through neutral Belgium due to political considerations. I can also very much recommend Nial Fergusons original analysis in The Pity of War, although I do not agree with him that France or Britain would have attacked Belgium without a German attack!
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrible History,
I have always been a History buff. I thought I knew about this terrible war. I am reading this and seeing a reflection of today. The people who led our nations(ALL). Could have the same names as our MPs. They showed that they didn't respect their own countrymen.The Generals were idiots and our soldiers as usual Brave and undervalued. What a Human waste this was.
5.0 out of 5 stars Academic brilliance, possibly the best all round WW1 book around...,
I give this book 5 stars because Stevenson shows why he is one of the top historians of the subject and his crystal clear analysis is evident throughout the book as he covers the war in a series of main themes rather than pure chronology which is done elsewhere by many others.
The effort of research that has gone into this book is staggering and it's put into a context which I don't remember reading before, in spite of having read a vast number of books on the subject. Students of the period should not be without this book and should also pick up a copy of his later effort on the last year of the war. With the centenary of outbreak of the war approaching I hope that those who want to learn about the subject for the first time are able to get a copy of this book and have the discipline to read all the way through it for you will be better off having read it. On that matter you should indeed be aware that this is not a mass audience book, but an higher end academic effort by one of the best in the business today.
5.0 out of 5 stars For A level history,
Really pleased with this book. Purchased for my daughter to help with A levels. Great buy and will be very helpful with her history assignments
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting!,
This review is from: 1914-1918: The History of the First World War (Kindle Edition)
An astonishingly thorough account of WW1 and circumstances before and afterwards.
I am in awe of the authors thoroughness and attention to detail.
I have learned so much from this book which was impossible to put down. How little I knew of this tragic catastrophy.
If you want the most thorough account of this subject then this is the book to read.
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1914-1918: The History of the First World War by David Stevenson