Great Britain's Great War Hardcover – 3 Oct 2013
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He writes so well and sympathetically, and chooses his detail so deftly, that if there is one new history of the war that you might actually enjoy from the very large centennial selection this is very likely it (The Times)
A fine introduction to the part Britain played in the first of the worst two wars in history. The writing is lively and the detail often surprising and memorable (Guardian)
Incisive, colourful. Paxman delves into every aspect of British life to capture the mood and morale of the nation - from the corridors of power to the factory shop floor (Daily Express ****)
Clever, laconic and racy. Paxman gets the balance right between political, military, economic and cultural points of view. There is a judicious mix between individual stories and the 'bigger picture' ... a book that engages the minds and emotions (Telegraph)
A procession of fascinating details ... he narrates with brio ... conveys the texture of the times ... write[s] with clarity and sympathy (Spectator)
Paxman is particularly good ... in showing how much a modern perspective distorts our understanding ... summarises well how class barriers were shattered ... refreshingly combative in arguing that the war was not futile (Prospect)
Mixing pragmatism with sardonic observation ... one is left with a better understanding of how the Great Britain that began the war became more like ordinary Britain, shorn of global power and prestige, by its end (Sunday Times)
A beautifully lucid account of the impact of the first World War on the British way of life . . . Blends anecdote with cold fact to create a picture not merely of what happened but also of how it felt to those involved (Irish Times)
About the Author
Jeremy Paxman is a renowned broadcaster, award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of seven works of non-fiction, including The English, The Political Animal and Empire.
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Top Customer Reviews
As a long-time history buff and voracious reader of history, I've long thought that some of the best history books are those whose authors take a small "bite" off the larger pie and present a slice of history. Now it may mean more reading to learn the whole picture with this approach, but the books that are written this way represent an excellent method of learning history. Jeremy Paxman takes the period of 1914 to 1918 (and a bit later) and examines the war and the effect it had on Britain and the colonies (later the Commonwealth countries). Using the scattered-but-written-as-part-of-a-whole style, he writes about the war in both political and military terms. He highlights both the Battle of the Somme and the Gallipoli campaign as examples of wrong-headed military tactics, compounded by bone-headed political decisions. He is particularly scathing about the usually stupid military commanders, who "lead from the rear" as young men - both officers and enlisted men - are sent into enemy fire as lambs sent to slaughter.
But while concentrating on the political and military aspects of WW1, Paxman doesn't neglect the "Home Front".Read more ›
The considerable value of Paxman's book lies, in my opinion, not so much in seeing that war once more in its original perspective as in his own characteristic mixture of sympathy and sardonic observations, but above all in the many details he has culled from his source material. One early example: "postmen resigned their jobs rather than face the sight of yet another family in tears" as they received the dreaded telegram announcing the death of one of their loved ones.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very thoroughly researched book, which reads well.. So many interesting facts about The Great War.. Cannot recommend highly enoughPublished 13 days ago by YoungAndy
I remember talking with my grandfather about the First World War. He spoke cheerily about his wound received on the Somme and was pleased to have done his bit. Read morePublished 2 months ago by John Harrison
Ok, I have never been the greatest fan of Jeremy Paxman - indeed, most of the time I have found the man insufferable on the whole. Read morePublished 4 months ago by DBWM
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