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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleep Walking Into War
A gripping read, suitable for a history novice, or an expert.
Beginning with the Paris Exhibition of 1900, Prof MacMillan charts European history to the outbreak of war, picking out, with the benefit of all we now know, how a series of events, along with a prevailing culture of militarism, and theories of how war should be conducted, and all the limitations of the...
Published 4 months ago by Robbie Bowen

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars better yet one-clause put-downs - this seems a telling tally ...
If you don't judge a book by its cover, then use the number of 'note-it' tags you stick in it, to remind you of especially pithy quotes or lyrical language. Compare then prof MacMillan's 'The Peacemakers' with this prequel 'The War that ended Peace'. My personal tally is 24:0. Even allowing for my idiosyncracies - I'm a sucker for one-line, better yet one-clause put-downs...
Published 24 days ago by A. Smith


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5.0 out of 5 stars A worth to read book, 4 April 2014
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D. Katsirea (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Kindle Edition)
This book is an important contribution to the understanding of the origins of the FWW.
An essential read for the serious historian.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wide ranging and Insightful, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Kindle Edition)
"Those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it". The apparent peace and prosperity of Europe in 1900 turned to the appalling tragedy of World War. We have also lived in a peaceful and apparently progressive time, full of advances in technology, commerce and international relations. We are tempted to think, as people in 1900 thought that international problems could be solved, but we now know that they were not and understand the horrors that ensued. Let us not make the same mistake again. This book spells out a range of issues, personalities, strategies, national cultures and misunderstandings that escalated even as the players thought they were doing the right thing to protect themselves from their apparently too powerful neighbours.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I understand how and why the war started now., 1 April 2014
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Kindle Edition)
At times this is a magnificently written book with fascinating detail about the people and events that drew us into the war. The characters of the Kaiser are beautifully crafted, along with Grey and Moltke and many more. There is description of the events and impact of social movements at the time for pacifism, socialism, women's suffrage and Irish severance. The fears of the fading Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the ambitions of the central European power of Germany, the manipulation of national leaders are all explained in this epic history.
My only criticism is that there is quite a lot of movement between dates which left me at times having to work out the order for myself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A slow burner, 28 Mar 2014
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D. Payne (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Kindle Edition)
Having read a few military histories (and this isn't one) I have been used to a linear narrative and lots of numbers and dates. This book is nutlike that at all, and weaves to and fro, and I found that initially frustrating and disorientating. However, as the tension builds towards the last few weeks on the summer of 1914, the early groundwork pays dividends. Stick with this book to the end and be rewarded.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, 27 Mar 2014
A very well researched book, as always by Margaret Macmillan, but as has already been commented on, repetitive. You almost want to say at times, "Okay, got the point, let's move forward". And also, it seems to be written from the perspective of the British, so of course, doesn't make for an extremely objective rendering of a complex chapter. But she does write well and the subject is so interesting, so 4 stars...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Man's stupidity writ large., 24 Mar 2014
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Mr. D. McKenna "foliofreak" (East Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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Of all the books that I have read about WW1 this is clearly the best in my opinion. Prof MacMillan sets out in clear, easy to read English, the steps leading up to war itself and I found myself thinking often whilst reading the book....."why are you doing/saying this?" ...as stupidity and arrogance brought disaster ever closer. If you are interested in polemology (the study of war) then this is for you.
Read it and weep for mankind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a sense of deja vu, 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Kindle Edition)
This book is extraordinarily well researched, and written and with such a lightness of touch that you won't notice how much information you're taking in, in an entertaining way. Personally, we read to each other out loud each night and we're working our way through this - but with the details included, it feels as if we're witnessing, or participating in...a re-enactment of this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and compelling, 17 Mar 2014
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Ian C (Staffordshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Kindle Edition)
This book was both easy to read and an all-encompassing history of the events that led to the Great War. Indeed, it was more than that, as it showed how events as far back as the Franco-Prussian war influenced the views and actions of those who played a key role in 1914.

It chose not just to concentrate on the major players, but also how rivalries in Africa and central European ethnic groups sucked in the bigger powers and often led to the tail wagging the dog.

For a topic that has been so well covered, I learnt much that was genuinely new to me and made me realise how little I understood about that part of our continent.

An excellent book and one I would wholly recommend to anyone who wants to understand how the world we live in today was shaped and the signs we should look for that may indicate the long peace is under threat.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 6 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Kindle Edition)
This is one of the most readable and enjoyable books I have read about 20C history. Full of amusing anecdotes, pertinent examples and with a good, clear structure which tugs the reader through the cascading events of the final years of peace, it is a joy to read and is one of those books I would love to read again. It is not the definitive book - I doubt there can be such a thing as there are so many facets about this period and it principally a diplomatic and social history without spending too much time on issues such as the economic situation. However, that said I think that anyone wanting a thorough, entertaining account would be very pleased with this account. Hugely enjoyable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Treads well-worn paths intelligently, dolefully., 23 Feb 2014
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RMF (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War that Ended Peace: How Europe abandoned peace for the First World War (Kindle Edition)
Professor Macmillan's gentle touch and deft handling of familiar players and events in the terrible drama is praiseworthy. No caricatures, no oversimplifications, no over-drawing of German paranoia, British muddle, French intramural conflicts or Austro-Hungarian blunders. Instead, a realistic depiction of the crucial role of personalities under pressure, the recurrent, too familiar theme of weak civilian leaders' yielding to military threats and press hysteria, drawing the wrong lessons from "experience", failing to rely on available information, but instead going with the flow of events when even a word of resistance might have saved the lives of millions.
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