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1864: The forgotten war that shaped modern…

1864: The forgotten war that shaped modern Europe

by Tom Buk-Swienty

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I was really afraid that this book would be superficial and would only tell me about battles. Fortunately, the book provides more than that. It provides some background as well as good discussion on foreign policy, domestic politics as well as international reaction to the war. Moreover, The writing style of the author is not dry but engaging. However, while i do appreciate that the author is trying to make the war look more real by providing accounts of the ordinary men and women who were affected by it, I felt that the book spends too much time on that. Not that I consider it a major flaw as i know some readers would prefer to look at war through the stories of ordinary soldiers, my own preference would have been to look at it through the eyes of political leaders involved as well as through ambassadors and political leaders of neutral nation. I wish that the author devoted more time seeing the war through Kaiser Wilhelm or through Franz Josef's perspective or even through the perspective of neutral Lord Palmerston, Alexander II, Napoleon III and Abraham Lincoln. Nevertheless, i would still highly recommend this book! ( )
  zen_923 | Jul 31, 2017 |
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The Battle of Dybbol, 1864. Prussian troops lay siege to an outpost in the far south of Denmark. The conflict is over control of the Duchy of Schleswig, recently annexed by Denmark to the alarm of its largely German-speaking inhabitants. Danish troops make a valiant attempt to hold out but are overrun by the might of the Prussian onslaught. Of little strategic importance, the struggle for Schleswig foreshadowed the same forces that, fifty years later, would tear Europe apart. Prussia's victory would not only rejuvenate its nascent militarism, but help it claim leadership of the new German Empire. Told in rich detail through first-hand accounts, Tom Buk-Swienty's magisterial account of the Schleswig conflict tells the story of this pivotal war. 1864 shows how a minor regional conflict foreshadowed the course of diplomacy that led to the First World War and brutally presaged the industrialised future of warfare. But most of all, in its human detail, from touching letters between husbands and wives to heartbreaking individual stories of loss, 1864 is a gripping, epic human drama that shows the effect all wars have on the soldiers, on families and on the individual men and women who must live its realities.… (more)

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