23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
A different angle on the subject,
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This review is from: The Pity of War (Paperback)
Niall Ferguson's book on WWI is excellent. I have read books on WWI before, but they were often about the 'guts-and-glory' side of the event. This is a must read, although I agree it is not an easy one.
It is great that Ferguson takes another angle at the subject. Even though he is controversial he hits the mark on many of the questions he sets out to answer.
The chilling bit about this book to me is that the Triple Entente (France, Britain, Russia) had far more resources at their disposal but used them rather poorly. Whereas, the German Empire by itself (not counting the rather ineffective Austrians) were in a minority position resources-wise, yet managed to inflict far greater casualties on the Entente than should have been expected. The other chilling lesson I took home from the book is that the German Empire could have won the conflict. The German blunders of 1918, thank God, put an end to any such hopes. It is not a surprise that this notion is not terribly popular in Germany; the 'Dolchstoss-Legend' is a more convenient concept to believe in.
Not having ever been involved in war or even close to it, I found the chapter on casualties and the 'issue of surrender' a most fascinating read. I have never read it in such detail in any other book on WWI.
If you expected the usual 'guts-and-glory' book then this is the wrong book for you. Being an economic historian allows Ferguson to innocently tell the WWI story from a different angle. He perhaps takes a clinical view of the factors leading up to WWI and the issues arising during its execution. But this is as it should be.
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Initial post: 7 Mar 2011 10:09:19 GMT
Any review that repeatedly refers to the entente powers as "the detente" should be distrusted - the reviewer doesn't even appear to know what historical era the book covers!
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