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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
10

on 15 August 2017
This is a fantastic book! You really get to understand the origins of the war, for example the Balkan wars, archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination, Austro-Hungary's ultimatum to Serbia, who mobilised first, and the international alliances that destabilised the "balance of power" in Europe. There's so much more to this brilliant book. You won't regret purchasing it.
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on 19 July 2008
This volume is the work of two highly distinguished historians: James Joll and Gordon Martel. Joll's book (of which this is the third edition) has rightly deserved a place for many years on the reading list of anyone serious about getting to grips with the complex question of the outbreak of war in 1914.

Joll and Martel are distinguished historians in their own right and not only do they use their historical knowledge and judgement with skill, but are able to reflect upon and include the views of other historians who have examined this vexed historical question.

The book deals with all the major theories in a thematic rather than chronological fashion. For instane, the question of secret diplomacy, political/philosophical ideas, military plans and the 'July Crisis' besides others.

This work is probably of most use to the able AS/A2 student and and undergraduates, but the quality of Joll and Martel's writing suggests the general reader (with some prior knowledge of the backgroun historical events) would find this a highly thought-provoking and rewarding read.
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on 22 February 2004
Joll provides a good description of the different elements we need to take into account when discussing what the causes of the First World War were. One major drawback is that it seems to lack detailed analysis of these elements. Also in the chapters on economics and internal conflicts within the different countries, I could not see many links between these different problems and the bearing they might have had on the decision to go to war.
But despite these criticisms, it is a highly informative book that is a useful introduction to this particular period of history. It is suitable for historians at any level.
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on 23 February 2015
I am in the midst of a splurge of books on the origins of the First World War. I am now the owner of more than ten volumes on the subject, It is such a vital topic, that we need to understand how and why the War came about, if for no other reason than to prevent it happening again. This book is a compendious, thoughtful (it does not make assumptions when they do not know the reasons but still considers all the factors) and thoroughly considered and reasoned text which considers the two vital questions, what happened and why. The more one reads, the easier it has become to appreciate the failures, the defective personalities of the leading protagonists and the lack of democratic accountability in the leading states. Those defective characters, be it the Kaiser, the Tsar, Bethmann Hollweg, the Hapsburg Emperor and his advisers, and the senor German authorities, never asked themselves the simple question as to whether they might be wrong about about their intended consequences and whether there was an alternative answer or solution or whether the end result might turn out in a different way. The consequential waste in blood, treasure and freedom for the ordinary citizens was similarly fruitless!
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on 5 September 2002
This is an excellent book for the discerning student of the Origins of the First World War. The content is well presented and in a manner that the A-Level Student through to the amateur historian would find accessible.
The causes are dealt with in turn, from the formation of Germany to the shooting of Franz Ferdinand. If you are studying a course to do with the Origins of the First World War then this is an excellent addition to your reading list.
A must for the serious student.
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on 30 December 2012
The book expertly explains the many complex strands that led to the War.

I have read several account of the War, but this one struck me as being exceptionally balanced and expertly researched.

I am frankly in awe of James Joll's breadth of knowledge, his research skills and his ability to convey complex issues to the layman.

If you are seeking great insights into the causes of the War then this is the book for you.
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on 23 May 2015
Product in very good condition, swift delivery and will help with my assignments. What more could I ask for? Many thanks.
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on 21 April 2009
Highly readable well presented with clear argument and summary of the main historical origins of the war.
Structured by themes in the form of essays this book is very useful for undergraduates.
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on 2 September 2016
very good book, fast delivery
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on 29 July 2016
Good Product, great service
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