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33 Reviews
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book that I would reccommend to anyone.
Coming from a generation whose grandparents were involved in the Second and not the First World War, before I read John Keegan's book my only knowledge of the whole affair was limited. Although I had heard of names such as the Somme and Ypres and the great suffering that occurred there, I knew little else. Keegan's book has enabled me to increase my knowledge of this...
Published on 24 July 2000 by Andy Stephenson

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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inaccessible Reading
As much as I would agree with other reviewers that this is a well-researched book with a wealth of information on many aspects of the war, I found this incredibly difficult to get into. I felt that it was really dense, shifting between countries and treaties and statistics, without any real explanation. Approaching this book as a novice left me feeling disoriented...
Published on 2 Mar 2012 by Dan


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 12 Sep 2013
By 
Neil (Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
Lots of illustrations make this book really great to read Well written lots of photos and maps. Would highly recommend
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I have read since 'Birdsong'., 21 Feb 2000
This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
If you want to understand Kosvo, Bosnia or any of Europe's recent conflicts Keegan's book on the First World War is the place to begin. It is a real page turner, readable and full of interesting facts and insights. All you need is an interest in humanity to take part in a pacy tour d'horizon of man's inhumanity to man. For example, find out how the Indians fare in France, what really happened at Gallipoli, and as an English person the relatively small part the Battle of The Somme played in the overall theatre of war. I cannot recommend it highly enough and can't wait to read Keegan's Second World War.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very readable and informative history of World War 1, 3 Feb 2000
This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
Very well written and puts the events associated with WW1 into their historical perspective. From the initial causes, through the relentless horror of the western trenches and eastern front, to the eventual 'fallout' of the armistice, the author provides both interesting facts and intelligent opinions. My only criticism of the book is the relative lack of maps and diagrams.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
Overall, a great book. Has really helped me with my studies at school and is a great starting book for anyone interested in WWI.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent History Book, 15 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
There will be more interest in WW1 now that the anniversary is imminent. This is a story well told and in sufficient detail to inform the reader without being overwhelmed. He is ready to challenge some of A J P Taylor's views. Taylor is the most accessible of historians and has appeal to the mass market. His opinions are provocative if sometimes exaggerative.

This is a well written and fully researched history which I would recommend to anyone interested in the subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brill, 2 Jan 2014
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A very comprehensive informative book, any body researching or interested in
the first world war would find this a must.
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4.0 out of 5 stars great history, 24 Nov 2013
By 
j.l.greenwood (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
Full of life and a good read whilst being a complete short history of WWI.Essential reading for all those interested in this period
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4.0 out of 5 stars Keegans WW1, 26 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
I really like this book which is quite detailed and very informative on all aspects of the war revealing details of theatres of war I had not even known about. I only have one criticism and this is regarding the maps included of the battle zones, there are lots of places named on them but they are mainly not the same as those named in the narrative so I had to resort to other sources to identify the actual geographic locations (many thanks to the internet).

I requested this book as a Christmas present to go with the DVD set of the BBC's Great War series I had also requested, which I remember watching when it was first shown on TV. This was a great move since they really do complement one another with extra informatio on the DVD's as well as being able to see the actual historical people involved,

Well recommended
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4.0 out of 5 stars Readable and Engaging, 12 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The First World War (Kindle Edition)
Read a number of WW1 overviews and this is up with the best, although it is just that, an overview.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grand Overview of the "Great War", 16 Dec 2012
By 
JH "hobbs_tx" (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
The First World War is a massive subject. Keegan does a great job capturing the essence of the war without dragging the book out as long as the war itself. When covering a topic of this scale, it is impossible to dive into all the details. So Keegan's overview is not suitable for the well read student. But for those who are a novice to the subject or have only read about parts of the war or seen it in documentaries, Keegan is a great place to start. Keegan explains at depth how the war began. He discusses the spark and what transformed an isolated tragedy into a juggernaut of world slaughter. It is fascinating to read how military strategy preempted political reality, and misguided belief in the quick decisive victory, sent millions to their graves. As a avid reader of WWII, it is interesting reading how the strategy of WWI influenced the path of WWII. Especially interesting is reflecting on what the outcome of WWI would have been with the technology of WWII.

But with the end in sight (at least the Germans thought so), the war takes a different shape as it hardens into trench warfare. Keegan explains how the tactics and strategy for trench warfare evolved throughout the war. He discusses the uses of new technologies like chemical warfare, indirect artillery, machine guns, aerial combat, and tanks. Keegan also explains that all these new technological advances only serve to stack the body count without delivering the knockout blow so desired. He shows over and over again how the lack of development in communications prevented breakouts from sustaining their momentum. In fact, it would take another war to hone these techniques even after the technology was available. Even in Normandy during WWII, the allies found it difficult to coordinate infantry with armor formations and close air support. Keegan also explores the expansion of the war as a European war grows to consume most of the world. He covers the war at sea which results in the near annihilation of the German High Seas Fleet.

But the book is not perfect. There could be more maps to reflect the narrative. Keegan does allow national pride to color his discussion of British actions. The end of the war lacks the coverage it deserves. Others have pointed out the gripes. But, it is hard to please everyone. Keegan still delivers an excellent overview of the "Great War". I recommend this book highly to anyone interested in history. Understanding WWI is fundamental in appreciating the history of the last century. The lessons of the world wars should be understood by anyone interested in foreign policy.
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The First World War
The First World War by John Keegan
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