4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Great War - a great book,
This review is from: The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War (Hardcover)
Explaining the Great War, its causes, what happened, why and the aftermath is a complex and demanding task. The Great War by Peter Hart rises superbly to the challenge. The structure of the book, year by year, front by front is comprehensive and easy to follow. It is supported by excellent maps of all the fronts which allow easy cross reference with the text.
Peter Hart demonstrates a mastery of the subject but is able to convey the twists and turn of events and characters in a clear and convincing manner. A great strength lies in the stories within the story. The use of personal quotes bring to the book the raw emotion of war and what its participants, from generals to private soldiers, sailors and airman, thought and experienced at the time. The choice of photos follows the strong narrative set within the book, not only complementing and enhancing the text but almost acting as their own photo story book of the conflict.
It is also a book that avoids a single nationalistic perspective of the war. A book that recognises the contributions and sacrifices made by both sides, the wide range of countries involved and the complexity of war. The strategy and tactics used and how they developed are tracked across the war years. The political backdrop and the characters behind the scenes who drove conflict are interweaved.
The centenary of the start of the Great War is almost upon us.Numerous books will be written offering single perspectives on this all important conflict. For a balanced, comprehensive, accessible, clearly written and entertaining understanding of what happened and why, there is unlikely to be a better buy than this book from such an experienced historian and maturing author.