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A Short History of the First World War Paperback – 4 Sep 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (4 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780743645
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780743646
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Well written and persuasive …objective and well-rounded... This scholarly rehabilitation should be the standard biography of Haig.'

(Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday on The Chief)

'Solid scholarship and admirable advocacy.'

(Sunday Telegraph on The Chief)

'[An]iconoclastic tour de force.'

(Niall Ferguson, Sunday Telegraph on Forgotten Victory)

'Outstanding'

(Sir Michael Howard on Forgotten Victory)

‘Gary Sheffield is one of Britain's foremost historians of the First World War – insightful, original and superbly informed.’

(Max Hastings)

‘In a book all the more impressive for its brevity, Gary Sheffield covers a remarkable amount of ground, from the war's causes to its consequences.’

(Michael Neiberg, Professor of History at the University of Southern Mississippi)

‘One of Britain’s foremost historians of the Great War offers here a clear and concise account of the great catastrophe of the 20th Century. Drawing on an enormous knowledge of secondary literature combined with many years of immersion in the archives, the result is a masterful mix of narrative and analysis that will prove both provocative and stimulating.’

(Jeffrey Grey, Professor of History, UNSW Canberra)

‘Professor Gary Sheffield, one of the leading figures in the field, turns his considerable talent to providing the most up-to-date view of this most controversial of conflicts.  The result is history at its very best; masterfully written, engaging, and thought provoking.’

(Andrew Wiest, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society, University of Southe)

‘A compelling and original account that should become a set text for anyone wanting to understand the events of 1914-18.’

(James Holland, bestselling author of The Battle of Britain and Dam Busters)

‘An excellent introduction to this vast subject which will be accessible to those beginning to study the conflict as well as a stimulating read for more experienced scholars.’

(Brian Bond, Emeritus Professor of Military History, Kings College, London)

‘The best short history of World War One that is currently available’

(Jeremy Black, Professor of History, University of Exeter)

About the Author

Gary Sheffield is Professor of War Studies at the University of Wolverhampton. He is President of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides and a Vice President of the Western Front Association. He has published widely on the First World War and regularly broadcasts on television and radio as well as contributing to numerous journals, magazines and newspapers. Previous books include the acclaimed Forgotten Victory and The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army, which was shorlisted for the presigious Duke of Westminster's Medal.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This short account is a reissue plus a new introduction. The author was previouly a Professor of Modern History at King's College, London, and then Professor of War Studies at Birmingham University. He is now Chair of War Studies at the University of Wolverhampton. He lives in Oxfordshire.

As Gary Sheffield, the author of many excellent books on the Great War, including a recent on on Haig, reminds us that the war was a series of events that destroyed four Empires, led to the 1917 Russian Revolution, and was a major factor in the rise of fascism. It set free many nationalities that then formed new states such as Yugoslavia. No less than eleven republics featured on the post 1918 map. The redistribution of former German colonies affected the map of Africa, East Asia, and the Pacific. The boundaries of the Middle East and in Palestine were redrawn, giving rise to many of todays problems in that region. The war also saw a dramatic reduction in Europe's world stature.

The war also led to the rise of the USA as a world power, and, among other things, Women's emancipation in many countries was given a boost. It killed many millions and left thousands crippled for life. The war was fought in almost every part of the globe, not as sometimes is implied only on the Western Front.

Sheffield admits that the debate over whether or not the war was futile continues unabated. Whether we should have got involved remains controversial. Haig and Petain remain highly controversial figures. He reminds us that opponents often argue their case with venom and demonstrate an intense dislike of having their preconceptions challenged even when these are based on 'emotion, limited knowledge and flawed understanding'.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent short book on a topic that is going to command more than just media interest over the next five years. As there will be such a flow of information and comment on the war it will become the paradigm for discussion of military interventions in the medium term, even if this influence is only sub conscious. So best to get a good understanding of what really happened in the First World War.
Professor Sheffield is an acknowledged expert on the conflict with several books already published that detail the conclusions that he has come to. In this book he presents the gist of the debates and the conclusions that he has come to and they are reasoned and reasonable conclusions. Our understanding of the conflict has become based upon a myth which is celebrated and reinforced every November. The core of this myth is class based, that the politicians who led us into the war were incompetent, that the generals were incompetent in the face of technologies that had existed for twenty years before the conflict and towards innovations during the war, that they willingly acquiesced in the massacre of a generation. To a large extent this view was manufactured after the war by left wingers who found it politically convenient to blame the upper classes for the carnage. ( though I am not sure that the author would express it quite lije that). The author is at pains to point out that he is not a right wing historian, merely seeking to discover truth .
On the causes of the war he determines that Germany bears the blame because its consistently aggressive policies created a coalition against it and, once a casus belli had been established the German government refused to rein in the Austrians and took an action in invading Belgium that would inevitably bring Britain in.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A really excellent overview of the First World War. Written by an acknowledged academic expert, but in a way that makes the complexity really accessible to the general reader. Easy to read and thought-provoking at the same time. Thoroughly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Gary Sheffield has made his name as a revisionist historian of World War One, attempting to rehabilitate and refocus views about Douglas Haig and commenting on how the combined technology of the Great war made it groundbreaking (no pun intended) in its military modernisms. Revisionists such as Sheffield see World War One as a learning curve (hence mistakes, reversals and learning from experience) rather than one where Lions were led by Donkeys. This Short History is intended as a military history and as such doesn't deal with the artistic and cultural repercussions of this conflict. However it is a masterclass in covering almost everything else. Sheffield is unafraid to challenge the "Sleepwalkers" school of causation and trenchantly lays the blame for the war firmly on Germany and Austro- Hungary. Having dealt with the causes he then goes on to expertly deal with the course of the war- year by year covering both the Eastern and Western Fronts. The clarity of his unflashy prose is crystal clear and compelling in its persuasive account of turning points and still
borne breakthroughs. His account of the development of technology is useful. He solves the problem in a supposed short book by using inserted factual panels providing contextual background or answering key questions. These inserted panels are similar to those used in Europe by Norman Davies and do much to help provide detail. Sheffield completes the book with sections on total war and the botched aftermath of Versailles, even discussing whether Versailles was instrumental in causing World War Two. This is an excellent book in its own right whether used as a primer or as a great introduction.
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