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on 4 July 2010
I was looking for a good general history of WWI which instead of indulging in 'oh, the horror!', or pushing a political agenda, simply tells you what happened militarily. In many ways this fits the bill. I don't agree that short shrift is given to the Eastern or other fronts; after all, the Western front was decisive in the war as a whole, and LH is inevitably influenced by his British outlook, but this volume gives more space up to other fronts than any other I've seen. Indeed, the point on which it departs most from what is now conventional wisdom, is in regarding the Salonika expedition as a vital contribution to ultimate victory. Likewise, the naval side is covered well.

LH is as impartial as anyone can be, and actually the story is no less shocking and sickening when told in a detached, objective manner. He pays handsome tributes to Allied and German armies alike, and despite the book originally appearing less than twenty years after the war he doesn't spare the reputations of the 'brass hats'.

The book's weakness is in its too-evident origin as a series of individual papers. A chapter summarising each year of the war is followed by several more fleshing out the events in more detail. If read cover-to-cover, therefore, there is a fair amount of repetition. You could read just the summary chapters for an excellent short overview - LH has a real gift for getting to the essential point - but it would have been better if he could have incorporated all the material into a continuous narrative.

Overall, and despite this shortcoming, the best book I've read on the subject.
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on 23 May 2010
I have had my copy of this book for 35 years, and enjoy rereading it from time to time. Liddell Hart has a flowing style and assembles his arguments convincingly. What is particularly interesting, and different from most books about World War I, is the emphasis that he places on the thought processes in both sides' high commands. He shows clearly the importance of personality, and how decisions are shaped by individuals' responses to uncertainty, politics, adversity and even how they got on with their subordinates, allies and peers. Of course, dislocating the enemy's high command was central to Liddell Hart's own theories of war, which laid the groundwork for blitzkrieg and were applied to great effect (by Germany, ironically) in 1940. If I had a criticism of the book, it would be that it concentrates very heavily on the Western Front, and that other theatres of war, particularly in Russia, don't get the attention that I think they deserve. Nonetheless, as a single volume history, this is a superb introduction to a war that was much more complex than its reputation would suggest.
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on 23 February 2013
This is a book to keep close at hand and constantly refer to. Because of it's single volume there are obviously gaps and unanswered questions but it is the best book I have seen on WW1 and should be part of every students of 20th century history and anyone else who is intelligent enough to ask ;Why?'. Written in an easy to understand style with out talking down to the reader.
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on 24 September 2008
This book is not like any other book I have yet read about the First World War. Instead of focusing on the harrowing accounts of individuals who were unlucky enough to be involved in this conflict, the author gives us an in-depth analysis of why the war happened, the strategic aims of all parties involved & why the decisions taken by those in charge had such catastrophic results.
Although heavy reading at times, it is certainly not bogged down by statistics and the style of writing keeps you wanting to read on.
An excellent book.
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on 25 January 2016
I am very familiar with the history of WW2 but so much with WW1. If you sat me down and asked me to give you a series of bullet points off WW2 in their actual chronology then I could paint you a picture. But I certainly cannot say the same thing for WW1 but this quite dry tomb gives you an outline of this terrible piece of our history. Many things are explained, one of the most interesting was the Dardanelles campaign, where we learn that the ANZAC forces were part of a larger campaign and not there alone as is often portrayed in film. We also learn that this campaign really was a good idea and that Churchill should not be blamed for its failure. Ironically it could have benefitted the Russians the most if we could have controlled the Dardanelles area but they refused to send troops to help the Western Entente countries occupy land that they coveted for themselves. It could have given Britain a cheaper supply of wheat and free up an enormous amount of already paid for goods locked in Russian ports. The Greeks offered to send 3 divisions to aid the campaign but again the Russians did not see the bigger picture and blocked this move.

We also find out about many other battles that affected other battles, for example the opening of the Somme campaign in 1916 forced the Germans to pull troops away from the Battle of Verdun and helped the French hold on.

It also points out some awful leadership. For example, in the Battle of Loos the British first used poison gas but it was 'launched' from static cylinders and so required favourable winds. The winds were not favourable in some cases but solders were ordered to release the gas at the exact time that the plan demanded, this led to the gas being blown back onto the British troops.

The dry nature of this book means it is not a casual read but it is a very worthwhile read.
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For years this has been regarded as the standard work on the First World War . It is adequate as a basic history but is devoid of any passion or emotion , the author remaining polite and restrained no matter what disaster of generalship he describes . The Russian Revolution of 1917 is covered in barely a page and appears to be passed off as 'a bit of a poor show ' . This book was first published in 1930 so perhaps represents a then current establishment view of events . Liddell Hart was certainly not seeking to rock any boats when he penned this .
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on 15 June 2015
The book was delivered on schedule which is fine.
The quality of the book is okay. Qualification was Very good but I should qualify it as no more than Good. The price compared with the quality was okay.
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on 7 September 2015
Written well and authoritatively: Hart's books appear to be very well researched and so are very informative. A wonderful read for a history buff.
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on 8 August 2014
This book explains the strategies and reality of the IWW better than any history book I have ever read
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on 25 November 2014
Book in good condition as described
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