Dreadnought: Britain,Germany and the Coming of the Great War Paperback – 13 Dec 2007
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"History at its best, a fantastic mix of anecdote, observation and intelligent thinking" (Dan Snow Daily Express)
"Massie tells the story with controlled energy and attention to detail, especially human detail. It has not been told so well before." (Literary Review)
"He has the supreme gift of making history live in simple, readable language." (Observer)
"Inheritor of Barbara Tuchman's mantle as the English-speaking world's pre-eminent popular historian...Robert K. Massie has now turned his attention to the arms race between Britain and Germany c.1890-1914, the most important precipitant towards the outbreak of the First World War." (Frank McLynn)
"This is a book you are bound to enjoy. The set pieces - the naval review of June 1897, the Jameson Raid, The Kaiser's visit to Windsor, Winston Churchill visiting the fleet, "the spring of the panther" - are dramatically recreated. The pen portraits of the political and naval establishments of Wilhelmine Germany and Victorian and Edwardian Britain are brilliantly evoked with a sharp eye for the memorable detail...Massie keeps his complex story under tight control...Monographers like myself can only envy the sheer sweep of Dreadnought and the author's rich palette of colours so deftly applied. Like Barbara Tuchman's Guns of August this is narrative history at its very best. Financial Times" (Financial Times)
From the Inside Flap
"A classic [that] covers superbly a whole era...Engrossing in its glittering gallery of characters."
Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert K. Massie has written a richly textured and gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century's first great arms race. Massie brings to vivid life, such historical figures as the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz, the young, ambitious, Winston Churchill, the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow, and many others. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tratedy in his powerful narrative. Intimately human and dramatic, DREADNOUGHT is history at its most riveting. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the pen-portraits of key people. Names which had been little more than labels for me are expanded into fully-fleshed portraits. The roles and influences of the European royal families make fascinating reading: descriptions of conversations, and many letters, are particularly revealing.
There are good accounts of developing naval technologies. With hindsight we can see that the evermore powerful battleships being built by Britain and Germany were quickly becoming obsolescent as new weapons such as torpedoes, mines, submarines and aircraft came on-line, together with the growing importance of aircraft carriers.
Massie also covers the many negotiations attempting to keep the peace in Europe: but these were doomed as Austria and Germany were, apparently, committed to war.
This period marks the relative decline of the Royal Navy as the dominant world naval force. Massie shows how this decline reflected the growing industrial power of other nations, particularly the United States.
Overall, highly recommended as a good and informative read.
At times it's good, at others I found myself skimming though pages. I didn't think it really took off till after half way through. By the time war really looms and the British, realising how terrible and devastating a modern war between the major powers would be, desperately tried to get Germany to negotiate, it gets almost like a thriller and very tense - even though we know the outcome. l was really finding it unputdownable by this point and as my Kindle said I was at 75% I was looking forward to lots more reading. But I was at the end!
The book finishes the moment war is declared, and before a single dreadnought leaves home waters! It almost felt as if someone had cut several chapters off the end, and I felt very frustrated and let down.
On a pedantic note, I agree with others that he doesn't seem to understand the difference between England and Britain. A lot of people don't, but if you were writing a book on such a subject you'd think he would make it his job to get it right.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I started to read this book I was surprised, it was not what I expected at all. I thought it was going to tell me about the building of the warships and what they did, instead... Read morePublished 14 days ago by ER
Fantastic. As much about pre-war rivalries and politics as battleships!Published 2 months ago by Ben Bouckley
A very comprehensive and superbly researched volume on this topic. A book which can be read by the layman but probably also has something for the more expert.Published 5 months ago by G Cheshire
It's an excellent book, only it's not really about the ships. The actual, factual Navy is only the background wallpaper in there. Read morePublished 6 months ago by G. Pedrico
A masterpiece: scholarship of the highest order, but eminently readable at the same time.Published 6 months ago by Dave
I am another who bought this book in error, thinking to receive information about the ship. ( I was shopping in a hurry, and it was on offer! Read morePublished 9 months ago by David Powell
an interesting description of the political relationships between the European powers prior to WW1Published 9 months ago by T H
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