The First World War

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9780712666459: The First World War

The First World War created the modern world. A conflict of unparalleled ferocity far beyond its European epicentre, it broke the century of relative peace and prosperity which we associate with the Victorian era. It unleashed both the demons of the twenieth century - pestilence, military destruction and mass death - and the ideas which continue to shape our world today - modernism in the arts, new approaches to psychology and medicine, and radical ideas about economics and society. An event of this scale and complexity needs a great historian to portray it, and in his new book, John Keegan fulfils a life-long ambition to write the definitive book on the war. It was of course foremost a fascinating new interpretations of the military events. But the war also acted as a formidable engine for social change throughout the world, and this too is brilliantly conveyed in Keegan's fascinating and magisterial work.

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Review:

Despite the avalanche of books written about the First World War in recent years, there have been comparatively few books that deliver a comprehensive account of the war and its campaigns from start to finish. The First World War fills the gap superbly. As readers familiar with Keegan's previous books (including The Second World War and Six Armies in Normandy) know, he's a historian of the old school. He has no earth-shattering new theories to challenge the status quo, no first-person accounts to tug on the emotions--what he does have, though, is a gift for talking the lay person through the twists and turns of a complex narrative in a way that is never less than accessible or engaging.

Keegan never tries to ram his learning down your throat. Where other authors have struggled to explain how Britain could ever allow itself to be dragged into such a war in 1914, Keegan keeps his account practical. The level of communications that we enjoy today just didn't exist then, and so it was much harder to keep track of what was going on. By the time a message had finally reached the person in question, the situation may have changed out of all recognition. Keegan applies this same "cock-up" theory of history to the rest of the war, principally the three great disasters at Gallipoli, the Somme, and Passchendaele. The generals didn't send all those troops to their deaths deliberately, Keegan argues; they did it out of incompetence and ineptitude, and because they had no idea of what was actually going on at the front.

While The First World War is not afraid to point the finger at those generals who deserve it, even Keegan has to admit he doesn't have all the answers. If it all seems so obviously futile and such a massive waste of life now, he asks, how could it have seemed worthwhile back then? Why did so many people carry on, knowing they would die? Why, indeed. --John Crace, Amazon.co.uk

From the Inside Flap:

The First World War created the modern world. A conflict of unprecedented ferocity, it abruptly ended the relative peace and prosperity of the Victorian era, unleashing such demons of the twentieth century as mechanized warfare and mass death. It also helped to usher in the ideas that have shaped our times--modernism in the arts, new approaches to psychology and medicine, radical thoughts about economics and society--and in so doing shattered the faith in rationalism and liberalism that had prevailed in Europe since the Enlightenment.

By the end of the war, three great empires--the Austro-Hungarian, the Russian and the Ottoman--had collapsed. But as Keegan shows, the devastation extended over the entirety of Europe, and still profoundly informs the politics and culture of the continent today. His brilliant, panoramic account of this vast and terrible conflict is destined to take its place among the classics of world history.

Reader Bio:

Simon Prebble has had more than 60 roles in television plays, serials, and documentaries, including Hamlet, Six Wives of Henry VII, and Photofinish and played Martin Chedwyn on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns.

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John Keegan
ISBN 10: 0712666451 ISBN 13: 9780712666459
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Descripción 1999. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Paperback. The First World War created the modern world. A conflict of unparalleled ferocity far beyond its European epicentre, it broke the century of relative peace and prosperity whic.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 512 pages. 0.714. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780712666459

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Descripción Pimlico, 1999. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 0712666451

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Descripción Pimlico, 1999. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0712666451

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