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The First World War: A Complete History by…

The First World War: A Complete History (1994)

by Martin Gilbert

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A very impressive attempt at describing the vast variety of actions that took place across many fronts in the first World War. Gilbert must have put in thousands of hours on research to come up with the individual, personal highlights that put the conflict in human terms. Of course, a vast amount of research and writing had already taken place, but the job of sorting through all of that to put it into a coherent, readable form must have been nearly overwhelming. Gilbert probably places more emphasis on the roles of Americans and Jews in the war than some historians, but I didn't think it seemed unjustified. He also did a good job of highlighting the plight of the Armenians. In sum, I found this work of history to be comprehensive, compassionate, and left me wanting to look further into several aspects of the war. ( )
  ninefivepeak | Jul 26, 2014 |
Accessible one-volume history of the mechanical slaughter of the First World War. A bit Anglocentric, and cites a lot of poetry as well as memoirs, but still earth-shattering stuff. The start of the chaotic century. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
2767 The First World War: A Complete History, by Martin Gilbert (read 22 Jul 1995) This is an excellent work, and of course the concluding chapters are the best. He often tells of subsequently-famous persons who were in the war. As always, the horror of World War One is mind-boggling. The bibliography is filled with books which seem to be demanding I read them! ( )
  Schmerguls | Feb 29, 2008 |
This is narrative history at its best. It covers events chronologically, moving from front to front, but without awkward breaks. The coverage is military and political but also the human dimension, with many stories of individual tragedy, horror and heroism. This will stay with me for a long time. The only slight downer is the maps, which are all at the end of the book, unrelated to the narrative and not terribly clear. ( )
1 vote john257hopper | Nov 27, 2007 |
This is one of my favorite books for general reference. Maps are not great, though. ( )
  picardyrose | May 9, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080501540X, Hardcover)

A companion volume to the highly acclaimed The Second World War recounts the course of the war, the enormity of its cost, the advances it brought in technology, and its effect on European society. 25,000 first printing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:30 -0400)

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At 11:15 on the morning of June 28, 1914, in an outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire called Sarajevo, the twentieth century could be said to have been born. The repercussions of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand -- Emperor Franz Josef's nephew and heir apparent -- by a Bosnian Serb are with us to this day. The immediate aftermath of that act was war. Global in extent, it would last almost five years and leave five million civilian casualties and more than nine million military dead. On both the Allied and Central Powers sides, losses -- missing, wounded, dead -- were enormous. After the war, barely a town or village in Europe was without its monument to the dead. The war also left us with new technologies of death: tanks, planes, and submarines; reliable rapid-fire machine guns and artillery; motorized cavalry. It ushered in new tactics of warfare: shipping convoys and U-boat packs, dog fights and reconnaissance air support. And it bequeathed to us terrors we still cannot control: poison gas and chemical warfare, strategic bombing of civilian targets, massacres and atrocities against entire population groups. But most of all, it changed our world. In its wake, empires toppled, monarchies fell, whole political systems realigned. Instabilities became institutionalized, enmities enshrined. Revolution swept to power ideologies of the left and right. And the social order shifted seismically. Manners, mores, codes of behavior; literature and the arts; education and class distinctions: all underwent a vast sea change. In all these ways, the twentieth century could be said to have been born on the morning of June 28, 1914. Now, in a companion volume to his acclaimed The Second World War, Martin Gilbert weaves together all of these elements to create a stunning, dramatic, and informative narrative. The First World War is everything we have come to expect from the scholar the Times Literary Supplement placed "in the first rank of contemporary historians."… (more)

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