Customer Review

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inaccessible Reading, 2 Mar 2012
This review is from: The First World War (Paperback)
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. Moreover, Keegan's writing style is very formal and lacks any real personality; it is therefore not particularly pleasurable to read, and at times I felt myself skipping forward.

Also, this is not really a people's history, in that it doesn't really dwell on the lives of the soldiers in any great detail, but rather the politicians that sign the papers that lead them into battle. I also found that, a hundred pages in, there was hardly any mention of the British in the war, and the perspective was mainly from Serbian and French accounts.

This is a scholarly but also very dense read. It moves at such a pace through so many issues and ideas that it will leave you feeling more confused than when you first set out.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Mar 2014 18:42:19 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Mar 2014 18:44:13 GMT
I took a copy of this book out of the library, whilst waiting for Peter Hart's 'the Great War 1914-1918' which I had ordered from Amazon. I too found John Keegan's book very difficult to read. As much as anything it is his convoluted sentence structure, with over-long, complicated sentences which you often have to read twice before you can get the sense of them. This thus prevents one from getting into a flow, and slows one down. And then you look back on the page you have struggled through and wonder what you've just read! So I gave up after page 55, and had a look at the Peter Hart book which had arrived. What a contrast! After only 8 pages just now I instantly felt at home with his very readable, straightforward style and approach.

Posted on 11 Jun 2014 10:57:40 BDT
Sllaw79 says:
I'm looking to try and learn about both World Wars having never been taught at school. I'm 34 and thought there no time like the presents so to speak. I've always been interested but never know where to start. I've asked various place and had no help. I was wondering could you possibly point me in the right direction of we're I can start?
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