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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good evocation of a watershed year
This book recounts in a very readable form the Britain of the eve of the First World War in all its complexity. The author shows how the stereotype of a peaceful and sunny Edwardian summer rudely shattered by War at the height of a hot summer is only one perspective, that of a small proportion at the top of society. In reality Britain was a very divided country and full...
Published 7 months ago by John Hopper

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some sections work better than others - and loses impact on the Kindle
Nigel Jones's book on Britain in 1914 is readable enough, but feels quite uneven in how he goes about tackling the various strands and bringing them together in a slightly more compelling narrative. As a primer on what Britain was like one hundred years ago, and on the eve of war, it's pretty good, and the political context and background to the unfolding European war is...
Published 4 months ago by Jl Adcock


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some sections work better than others - and loses impact on the Kindle, 20 Oct. 2014
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peace and War: Britain in 1914 (Kindle Edition)
Nigel Jones's book on Britain in 1914 is readable enough, but feels quite uneven in how he goes about tackling the various strands and bringing them together in a slightly more compelling narrative. As a primer on what Britain was like one hundred years ago, and on the eve of war, it's pretty good, and the political context and background to the unfolding European war is done well. Anyone wanting to cement their GCSE-level knowledge of the time could do worse that read this book.

Chapters on the brewing unrest in Ireland, the suffragette movement, the social scene and various arts and literature that were popular and influential at the time are mixed bags to be honest - some are interesting, some aren't, but overall they add some valuable context to the picture Jones creates. In the chapters buidling up to the war and the start of the conflict in the summer of 1914, the narraitve becomes more spiky and sarcastic, with Jones having little time for the shenanagins of various politicians and members of the royal family who were clearly incompetent and ill-prepared for what was to come.

If you enjoy the usual cliches about war clouds gathering, Europe spiralling to war, and countries being drawn into the vortex of war, then you will find much to relish in these final chapters.

Kindle readers should note that the book is far shorter than you might be led to believe. The content stops around the 68% mark, leaving the remaining sections to browse or ignore - as they are lengthy ideas on further reading and a long index.. The photos and illustrations too - inevitably - leave much to be desired on the Kindle screens.

So, the paper version may be preferable here for many, although the actual quality of the content to my mind doesn't justify the price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good evocation of a watershed year, 5 Aug. 2014
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peace and War: Britain in 1914 (Kindle Edition)
This book recounts in a very readable form the Britain of the eve of the First World War in all its complexity. The author shows how the stereotype of a peaceful and sunny Edwardian summer rudely shattered by War at the height of a hot summer is only one perspective, that of a small proportion at the top of society. In reality Britain was a very divided country and full of conflict and violence. Ireland was about to erupt into civil war (when The Times announced on 27 July that "there can no longer be the slightest doubt that the country is now confronted with one of the greatest crises in the history of the British race" it was not at all referring to the Balkans). The suffragettes' campaign was reaching levels of violence and meeting with levels of counter violence arguably both greater than in any social protest movement of more recent years. Industrial relations were sharply confrontational and social divisions yawned widely. The War did temporarily put a halt to many of these crises with its all embracing nature affecting the whole of society. The author does a good job of showing the fundamental nature of this watershed in the middle of the year. He did spend a little too much time on painters and the Bloomsbury set for me and I largely skimmed those chapters. A large number of interesting photographs as well, most of which I don't recall seeing in other books. Very good.  4.5/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peace and War: Britain in 1914, 22 Jun. 2014
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Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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‘Tis the season, to be sure for books about 1914, the outbreak of WWI etc. This is the second book I have read recently about Britain in 1914 (the other was The Fateful Year: 1914 by Mark Bostridge) and what life was like leading up to, and in the first few months of the War; what were the front of mind topics for people living their daily lives before the shock of War became a reality, and how did they then cope with the whole change of life and requirements on them?

Like Bostridge’s book, this book takes some of the key events and items of the year – suffragettes, the Ulster troubles, artists and poets, and puts them into perspective so we can get some idea of how these impacted on day to day lives of British and English people in 1914. This book also offers interesting information on the building of the big ships – the Dreadnoughts, but also the race to offer bigger cruiseliners such as the Britannic and the Titanic and their like. There are also chapters on the London club scene, the bright young social things in their last Season – and then the assassination of Franz Ferdinand changed everything. The last third of the book talks about the country moving into war mode, the ways in which people demonstrated their patriotism and their fears of what the war would bring, and mobilisation. The book ends at Christmas 1914.

Bostridge’s book was a workmanlike read, and this book differs in that it is more of a coffee-table sized book. There are numerous and very interesting photographs which relate directly to the text, and the items that the author has used to highlight Britain in 1914 are definitely relevant and informative as well as entertaining to us at a remove of 100 years. A very interesting and worthwhile book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent review of life and society immediately prior to WW1, 26 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Peace and War: Britain in 1914 (Kindle Edition)
This book is immensely readable, providing a real feeling of the UK's politics and society in the years preceding the outbreak of the Great War. Accompanying photographs, many from the writer's collection, provide vivid graphic images of UK society in times we have long forgotten

Well worth reading!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You must read this book this year!, 19 Mar. 2014
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A great insight into life in Britain in the months leading up to the start of the Great War, and then the first few months of the conflict. I thoroughly enjoyed the quirky little facts and the often thought provoking moments in this highly readable and fascinating account of the historic and tumultuous year of 1914.

If you just want to understand the main events leading up to the First World War and the first key battles which led to to the four year stalemate called the western front, but don't want to wade through detailed blow by blow historic accounts, then this is the book for you! For a work of history it is a surprisingly easy read!

In this significant anniversary year I recommend that you must read this book!! It is your duty!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read!, 5 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Peace and War: Britain in 1914 (Kindle Edition)
What was England really like, one hundred years ago, on the eve of the Great War? A war that my Grandfather went to as an under aged soldier behind a Lewis Gun.
What kind of Great Britain was he and many other people's grandpas fighting for?
And did that Britain deserve that kind of loyalty and sacrifice?
Read this and find out the answers to some of these questions!
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5.0 out of 5 stars informative and well written, 9 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Peace and War: Britain in 1914 (Kindle Edition)
Excellent overview of socio political history leading up to the Great War. Useful detail abut the roots of Irish republican and unionism. Atmospheric and well researched. I especially liked the section on art and literature, especially the background of Vorticism and its reflection of the era.
The account of life after the declaration of war and battle itself is depressing; but it should be. No fake heroic polemic here - just the emptiness, vanity, cruelty and waste of war.
A good account of 1914 from all angles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent analysis of pre-WWi Britain, 8 Dec. 2014
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This is fascinating. It's amazing how much of some things have changed in the last 100 years and also how little. Jones helps to dispel the many myths I certainly had about society in the period running up to the start of WWI. He is a brilliant writer who brings the period to life and has created a real page turner. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What was Great Britain like before the Great War., 28 April 2014
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Michael James Talbot (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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I found it fascinating reading before the outbreak of the Great War. To read that W.G. Grace felt that cricket should be stopped and the players should sign up for the war was a fact I did not know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, well researched account of the first part of the 20th century., 10 Nov. 2014
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. I really enjoyed this very thorough portrait of England before the First World War and would strongly recommend it to any one who is interested the social and political shenanigans of our forefathers!
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