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on 7 April 2017
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on 26 April 2017
In excellent condition and such an amazing price
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on 18 July 2017
Very accurate and well depicted
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To try to encompass a histiory of the Great War in one volume is a task which is impossible. But Keegan comes close. From the opening lines reminding you of the terrible cost to ordinary people, the fact that more people in his village died in this war than in the second world war. And that this is due to the great loss in the first meaning there are fewer to give their lives in the second is a chilling fact. His study of the causes are straightforward and totally human, we can all understand how it happened, Keegan gives us a why. But to his credit never loses sight that it could and should have been avoided. Once the inevitability of the "Railway Timetable" planning comes into play the result is death and destruction on a never before seen scale. Throughout Keegan, while embracing the Lions Led By Donkeys approach, does try to give a balanced view of the planning and execution of the military aspects of the war. Yet this is far from the whole story. His account of the battle of the Somme shows why it was a slaughter, but also a near won victory. The final chapter alone is stunning in its straightforward recounting of the losses endured by both sides.
This thought provoking history is a complete study of the war and gives you a solid basis to go on and read more if you want. But on its own stands as an outstanding contribution to our understanding of the most influential 4 years of the 20th Century.
If you only ever read one book about this terrible conflict, you can do a lot worse than this excellent study.
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on 24 December 2016
This is an excellent single volume survey of the First World War. I'd recommend it for anyone trying to get a birds eye view of the great conflict.

Some reviewers have criticised Keegan for his brevity in his coverage of particular battlefields (e.g. Gallipoli or Passchendaele) but this is necessary for him to provide a truly global coverage of the War, and still come under 500 pages!

There are a few notable positions that Keegan takes:

* It was never inevitable for Britain to get involved in the conflict. He raises doubts in the readers mind about the need for Britain to honour her treaty to defend Belgium.

* He disagrees with the view that the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was an army of lions who lived in squalor before dying pointless deaths, led by donkeys who lived in splendour and safety. He argues that new technology bound the hands of the generals and no tactical alternatives were feasible.

* Field Marshal Haig was an aloof, and unlikeable character.

If you're looking for a single volume survey of the First World War. Then I heartily recommend this volume to you.
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on 16 May 2000
The First World War is a period of history now sinking beyond living memory yet the battles fought and the war's outcome continue to shape the Europe of today. If you want to understand why conflicts in the Balkans began, you need look no further than this mighty work. The events of the summer of 1914 were a catalogue of disaster and, to be honest, beyond my comprehension until now. The characters come alive with their hopes and fears and I was caught in the excitement of the movement of the front in 1914 and again in 1918. In between is the mud and inhuman conditions of the Somme and other battles in great detail. The numbers of men lost is beyond imagining. This book is a testament to their courage and sacrifice. And, did you know how close the Germans came to winning? (What would have happened then - no reason for Hitler's rise? ) What to find out? Read this book.
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on 11 March 2016
received today many thanks
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on 23 April 2017
Recommended to me as the best book on world war 1, I'd have to agree. I knew a bit about the history before reading this book, but it helped to fill in a lot of the gaps. As always, I suppose we're all guilty of seeing things from one particular viewpoint, this book takes you beyond that and really gives the big picture. Great, informative reading.
An Angel's Alternative
Cold Steel on the Rocks
We Are Cold Steel
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on 30 July 2003
The true facts on the complicated matter the Great War ultimately is and remains, seem doomed to remain shrouded in mists forever.
As one turns the pages of this book with increasing interest, the reader frowns at the stubbornness by which nations and generals keep the wheels of violence in motion. The more so, as it appears how widespread was the apprehension among European heads of state to give in so unavoidably to the battle call in the first place.
A major reflection any reader will make is that perhaps, eventually, generals 'simply' see their own resourcefulness running out, so giving way to separate and half-criminal enterprises of senseless slaughter.
As far as the Balkan history of conflict goes, Keegan succeeds in unravelling the complexity of this long-standing hotbed in the history of modern regional conflict.
Though perhaps the book could have done with a rather more extensive map section, one of its greatest merits is to be found in its objectivity and the subdued tone with which the author builds up his survey.
Qualitatively speaking, it must be about impossible to overrate the value of this book. No reader of this will deny Mr Keegan the reference point value he has so rightly achieved in the field of military history over the years.
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on 24 July 2000
Coming from a generation whose grandparents were involved in the Second and not the First World War, before I read John Keegan's book my only knowledge of the whole affair was limited. Although I had heard of names such as the Somme and Ypres and the great suffering that occurred there, I knew little else. Keegan's book has enabled me to increase my knowledge of this era ten fold.
Though, quite often books on war can be dry, Keegan's style of prose makes the book flow more like a novel, while still maintaining the correct tone for such an horrific passage in History, thus making this an ideal book, for those, who like me want to gain a greater insight into the War. The greatest achievement of the book though, is its objectivity. Keegan avoids, and rightly so, laying the blame with any one nation and instead focus on the war itself.
An excellent book that I would reccommend to anyone.
Andrew Stephenson
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