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on 27 April 2014
This is one of the best First World War documentaries available right now, but coming in a worthy second to the legendary BBC's 'The Great War' series from the 1960s. Nothing will ever equal that in my view. Apart from these two productions the others aren't worth bothering with from what I've seen. I want facts, figures, personal experiences ... I don't want the whole production to be underlined by an anti-war message. The casualty figures alone on all sides are quite sufficient to remind the viewer that war is hell, and should be avoided at all costs because people can get hurt. War isn't Hollywood, and we should not judge the inexplicable bravery of so many soldiers by today's standards. To undermine such courage with a plea for pacifism is almost to ridicule it. I see bravery and comradeship in the face of insuperable odds as some of the highest of human virtues. Personally, as long as warfare is confined to the TV screen, and I don't have to be involved in it, then it suits me just fine, thanks. However, a fine TV documentary series of this nature reminds me, as it should remind everybody that if it wasn't for the noble sacrifices of previous generations, we probably wouldn't have any carefully censored TV programmes to review without big brother breathing down our necks anyway. Was old Horace right when he wrote, 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.'? It would be nice to think it was worth it. I guess I'm just an old romantic at heart.
6 people found this helpful
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on 26 January 2018
The product comprises three DVD's, and my initial impression is that the content - the newreels, the pictures and the commentary - are excellent. However, I am disappointed that there is nothing on the DVD's themselves, or on the packaging, to indicate the subject matter of each DVD. The Series is based upon the book written by Hew Strachan. It would have been helpful, and sensible, to list the chapter headings from the book, so that the viewer (customer) can follow the history, and see which events of the First World War are described and illustrated in Disc One, and which are covered in Discs Two and Three. The Series is excellent, but without an Index or List of Contents it is muddled and lacks definition.
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on 11 January 2014
This is a re-release of the 2003 series, originally distributed by Channel 4 and now timed to coincide with the anniversary of the First World War. It constitutes 10 episodes, each running for 50 minutes.

Disk One
1. To Arms - the origins of the War
2. Under the Eagle - the German invasion of Belgium and France
3. Global War - the spread of the war to the imperial colonies
4. Jihad - the Ottoman Empire's war
Disk Two
5. Shackled to a Corpse - the Eastern and Italian fronts
6. Breaking the Deadlock - the stalemate on the Western Front
7. Blockade - the war at sea
Disk Three
8. Revolution - the Easter Rising, Arab Uprising, French mutiny and Russian Revolution
9. Germany's Last Gamble - the Spring Offensives and the collapse of morale among the Central Powers
10. War Without End - the Hundred Days Offensives and subsequent Armistice

Inevitably covering such a vast topic in such a brief period forces some short-cuts: battles such as Ypres and Passchendale, the fall of Baghdad and the Vardar Offensive are merely glossed; Lemberg, the Brusilov Offensive and Vittorio Veneto are not even mentioned. The narrative emphasises the human experience, and is successful in offering a broad perspective from both soldiers and civilians, from Ireland to Armenia. The documentary places the war in a global context and offers a balanced analysis although it keeps one eye on subsequent events (the viewer will share some moments of hindsight). Although it borrows from Satie, Orlando Gough's score is weak.

Overall, this is a very good introduction to the Great War, fairly comprehensive and objective. Students and those new to the subject will find it both helpful and fascinating.
7 people found this helpful
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on 5 May 2014
I already saw most of the series on TV so I knew what I was getting. The packaging into 3 DVDs is fine and the DVD menu etc works well. The episodes are exactly as was on TV. If you haven't seen it on TV then I would highly recommend it. It is more concise than the World At War series (WW2) but I think it is better for that. It doesn't lack film and photo footage despite it being from 100 years ago. The narration is clear and the logical flow of the series excellent.
4 people found this helpful
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on 29 January 2017
A must for every one, we should know more about the horror our forefathers went through
3 people found this helpful
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on 27 May 2014
An excellent series,particularly as it is based on the Hew Strachan book on the same subject. The remarkable thing to me was that so much of the early action, setting the scene, the areas and countries involved were the same as we hear and see daily now on the news screens. For example Crimea, Syria, Bosnia,Aleppo,Kut.Ukraine. Almost like History repeating itself. Make sure you get THIS history and series as there are a lot of them about this Centenary year. My mind was muddled about the origins of this war,the assassination etc..but I now have a much better idea,thanks to this work.
One person found this helpful
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on 30 July 2014
I also have the BBC's Great War.... this isn't as comprehensive but it's really very well done.
The photography is excellent and the narration is appropriate to the subject, without the "Crash Bang Wallop" of some of the more histrionic and not historical programmes on the subject.
All wars are tragic but this was on a scale that should never be forgotton...no matter how often our species repeats the folly.
One person found this helpful
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on 13 August 2016
I bought this as a gift for a relative, having recently seen the series re-broadcast on French TV. It is eminently watchable. It examines the conflict and its background from a number of angles and gives true meaning to the expression "World War". The commentary is helpful and lacks the sententious "appointment with destiny" flavour of some notable earlier productions. It fits in well with current debates about what the conflict was about, whether Britain should have taken part and how it was all settled, if that is the word. Highly recommended.
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on 4 May 2014
The Great War is a tragedy that can be hard to comprehend from such a distance in time. Even those who participated were reluctant to speak and the 'horror', (including my own great grandfather who refused to talk), and the myths grew through the proverbial mists of time.

This series does cover all the main political intrigues of the war and while it doesn't cover every event in detail, (what series could), it chooses a majority of the major events, places then in context and articulates them in an engaging manner. A wonderfully story of an often miss-understood period.

Beautifully scripted and though provoking without the undue (and often over done) sentimentality. The presentation retains a dignity to the great events and tragedy that was the Great War.

(PS ignore the talk about the cover picture, it is utterly irrelevant to the content).
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on 8 September 2017
very good series but not as good as the world at war
it is 100 years since the end of ww1
hopefully something big will come out next year
One person found this helpful
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