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4.2 out of 5 stars
World War One: History in an Hour
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2012
The History in an Hour series are proving to be very good at concise introductions to individual, large subjects, and so it is with World War One. Most people know a little about the trenches and the horrific slaughter but how many have heard of the devastating Iraq campaign or how many thousands of troops were stationed in Greece doing not a lot except making their presence felt so Greece would stay on the Allies side?

There are brief dips into the war at sea, in the air and how a young Winston Churchill was the prime mover of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign. The place were this book excels is right at the beginning as it explains why people wanted Arch Duke Ferdinand dead, how his driver's wrong turn presented the assassin with opportunity and the quick slide into war as countries were drawn in by commitments of mutual defence made in treaties signed long ago.

This is a top flight book which gives you the strategic overview of the war to end all wars, if only that last phrase were true. At the end of the book there is a brief biography of major personalities involved in the war and a chronology of events.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
To be honest I was a bit dubious about this book at first, until I started reading it that is. People of my generation studied World War 1 at school, so have an extensive background into the subject, and also in my case our school did also take us to the Imperial War Museum, which also helped a lot in understanding what it was like to live and fight in the trenches.

This book tries to gather the main points together into something that will take you about an hour to read, also including appendices and photos. All in all this does actually do a great job of this. It shows how the war started and the reasons, as well as the main countries involved. Where else this excels is how it shows things being inter-connected, such as the Easter Uprisings in Ireland, the revolution in Russia, and how such countries as Israel started to be created. Of course this would not be complete if it didn't show the world how it was after the war and some of the reasons for the next World War.

This is ideal for anyone wanting to brush up on the First World War, and I would say that this is excellent for anyone having to study this for history and would be ideal for school children. With an active table of contents and the inclusion of photos obviously a lot of thought has gone into this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2012
I studied WWI at school but we never got the big picture. It was a war of important events seemingly unconnected and quickly forgotten.

This book has done wonders bringing all the bits together to present a good overview of the whole war. It is a great introduction to WWI which explains who did what, where and why. The details of the main figures of the war at the end is useful too, as is the chronology of events. It should be required reading for all schoolchildren embarking on a study of WWI.

I found it really useful and will now read WWII which I hope will be as good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2014
Become very interested in the First World War since finding my great uncles's grave; he died on the Somme. We both wanted to know more about the War and have bought quite a few books. But it is such a large and complex subject and it is difficult to get a clear overview as each author, excellent in their own particular part of the War, gives a slightly different account. This one is a clear, concise and very understandable whizz through the causes and progress of the 1st WW. It doesn't go into huge detail but give a good bare bones account which can be fleshed out through further reading if you so wish. Both my husband and I are pleased I bought this one - very well written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 August 2014
As would be expected from the title, this book is a simple and straightforward account of the history of World War One.

Any historical account that renders years of complex conflict into one hour of reading is, by definition, going to have to take a few short cuts and render the complicated simple.

But is this a problem?

In this case I think not. The aim of this book seems to be to provide a simple narrative that allows the reader to grasp the way in which the events of the war developed, without have to wade through pages of fine print analysis.

In my opinion, this book would be an excellent “first read” about WW1, giving the reader enough of a framework to move on to move complex studies. If you are like me, I much prefer to know (vaguely) where I am going when I read history – and I wish I had read this book before I had ventured into some of the longer ones I have read.

In summary, a simple introduction, which given the current memorial events deserves to be widely read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2012
I happened upon this e-Book whilst researching for a film project related to World War One. This book did not disappoint and is actually quite comprehensive - I must confess, it took me well over an hour to read. Despite the swiftness of the accounts, the writing does not lack depth or impact. History in an Hour is a fine idea, and I shall be downloading others in this series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2012
I really enjoy history and this book is an eye opener to all the key events reviewed in a clear and concise format. If you wnat to read about the 1st world war, but don't want to pile through lots of heavy books then this is the way to do it. I am looking forward to reading other books in the series.
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on 17 January 2014
I chose this book as I had very little knowledge about WWI and wanted a book that was easy to understand and not bogged down with dry information. Firstly, I never managed to read it within an hour but that didn't matter as I needed to pause frequently to digest the facts (and horror in parts) and if I'd simply ploughed through it without stopping, I think I would've missed a lot of facts.
The book is laid out in a way that covers certain battles separately in chapters but interlocks chronologically, so if the reader is like me and totally unfamiliar with the main 'characters' as it where it can become a little confusing to keep up with things because of course there were several campaigns going on at once, plus the political wrangling going on!
Having said that, once I got to know who was who and where they all fitted in, it was easier to follow without having to flick back through previous chapters and check on things.
Overall I found it brilliantly written with a sprinkle of irony (or humour whichever way you see it) but not so much that it takes away from the facts, tragedy and in a lot of cases futility of it all.
I came away from it stunned for a moment but then wanting to read it again so I could digest more and will definitely buy more books from this series!
my advice: if you want to know about this subject but get turned off by big dry history books, then this is the book for you to start off with.
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on 13 November 2012
Fifty years ago, as WWI crept up to its 50th anniversary, I devilled my local small town librarian to find anything about this sad, sad war. Fifty years later, as the 100th anniversary approaches, I have this review delivered free and instantly via a global network to an electronic book reader the like of which scarcely could be imagined back then. My point? Wars and climate change (my Glass House: Climate Change in the Third Millennium) aside, there actually may be a case for some optimism about the human race!

As for the book, it's a reasonable, circa one-hour overview, although with some inaccuracies as mentioned by other reviewers. The viewpoint seems fairly well balanced vis-a-vis victors and vanquished. I will probably read it aloud to my children during the holiday as a starting point for more detailed Wikipedia excursions. I did find the abrupt diving from the strategic to the sometimes arbitrarily particular disconcerting, although I think I understand what the author was trying to achieve when doing so.

For the price and time commitment required, it's a good way to prepare yourself for the start of the 100th anniversary of WWI.
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on 18 November 2012
I loved this book, it was free! One thing that put me off was the fact there's only around 93 pages, and some books I've read have a long introduction - but not the case with this book. No waffle, a quick introduction and bang, straight into it. It explains the cause, first of the war (the assassination of Franz Ferdinand), and then the reasons why Britain declared war, and America declared war, etc. The book has some nice black and white photographs, including at the back (appendix 1) the key players in the conflict; and packs a lot of information in between the covers. Also included (appendix 2) is a timeline of the war. I was quite surprised on a number of occasions, not more than at the end of book (before the appendixes) when it mentioned that when an ex army corporal, injured in a gas attack, was in hospital when the treaty was signed and sobbed into his pillow; later writing in his diary about the hatred he felt, how it grew...his name, Adolf Hitler. All in all a revealing book and one that I highly recommend.
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