Cataclysm: The First World War As Political Tragedy

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9780465081844: Cataclysm: The First World War As Political Tragedy

The standard account of World War I says that the war happened because politicians lost control of events, and that once the war began, it quickly became an unstoppable machine. But in this major new work, historian David Stevenson shows that politicians deliberately took risks that led to war in July 1914, and that battle by bloody battle, their decision remained to continue the fighting. Cataclysm presents the disturbing reality that the course of the war was the result of conscious choices--including the continued acceptance of astronomical casualties.Rather than the standard Germany-vs.-England account, Cataclysm is a truly international history, drawing on previously undisclosed records from the Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Ottoman governments. From the complex network of secret treaties and alliances that eventually drew all of Europe into the war, to the way that World War I reconfigured how societies mourn and memorialize wartime dead, Cataclysm is a major revision of World War I history.

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About the Author:

David Stevenson is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics. He is the author of numerous publications on this subject, including The First World War and International Politics and The Outbreak of the First World War: 1914 in Perspective . He lives in London.

From Publishers Weekly:

Although more treatise than narrative, and not for skimmers, this book should be on the shelf with the best of the many books about WWI. A professor of international history at the London School of Economics and author of two earlier books on that war, Stevenson analyzes the bankruptcy of reason that precipitated the war and kept it going. According to Stevenson, some regimes saw, in the unifying effects of a popular war, cures for menacing internal turbulence, but, as he shows, the war turned unpredictably on its makers in most nations. Stevenson's close analysis of the political, economic and cultural dimensions of the conflict unravels the reasons why Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Russia, France and even Britain saw much to gain from a war that each hoped to win in short order, with the help of allies. But the irony of unanticipated outcomes derailed strategies, loyalties, ideals and even governments—which lost control of events. "Nothing ever seen before," Stevenson writes, "compared with such massive concentrations of firepower and of human suffering... and with such meagre results." The imposed postwar settlement contained "time bombs" of political instability (such as Yugoslavia) that keep exploding even today. Stevenson is particularly critical of American involvement, which, he says, pushed Germany toward surrender, but was also belated, inefficient, badly led and (with respect to President Wilson) diplomatically unsophisticated in coping with European cynicism. Despite some inconsistencies and contradictions, and its lack of a human dimension to the horror, Cataclysm is a major re-examination of the shaping tragedy of the 20th century. 37 b&w photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Stevenson, David
Editorial: Basic Books, U.S.A. (2004)
ISBN 10: 0465081843 ISBN 13: 9780465081844
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Descripción Basic Books, U.S.A., 2004. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: New. 1st Edition. New- first edition hardcover in new- dust jacket. Book has some light soiling from someone handling it with soiled fingers, mostly on front end page. Otherwise clean, tight and unread. Note that previous owner was a collector who carefully reinforced the dust jacket with what appears to be archival tape along the interior edges. Nº de ref. de la librería 045511

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Descripción Basic Books, 2004. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 0465081843

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Descripción Basic Books. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0465081843 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW6.0237595

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