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Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War (original 1991; edition 1991)

by Robert K. Massie

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1,190266,740 (4.24)30
Member:DeSelby
Title:Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War
Authors:Robert K. Massie
Info:Random House (1991), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 1007 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:history

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Dreadnought. Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War by Robert K. Massie (1991)

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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
An excellent book that only loses a star as it was a little difficult to follow, particularly in the early stages given the author's method of concentrating on a character. I found this awkward at the start of each chapter and I suspect others who are not already well versed in the characters would too. For those who already know a reasonable amount about the period I doubt it would be an inconvenience.

I also found it took a long time to get to the ships, which was my main reason for reading the book, but bear with it dear reader...

The depth of research is evident on every page and given that this was written some time ago I find it incredible still that there are debates over who was to blame for the start of the war. Unless someone has shown Massie to be hugely at fault somehow and has confused his sources, then this veritable tome leaves the issue in no doubt.

The soft spot I already have for Churchill has become fully ripe as a result of this book and Sir Edward Grey emerges from what were shadows for me to be a man of great honour , tenacity and imagination who did everything possible to avoid the unavoidable.

If you are interested in royalty, politics, diplomacy, power, war in general or ships in particular, this book is a must read. ( )
  expatscot | Aug 24, 2016 |
900+ pages of the naval & political buildup to WW1. The history is told by reference to the personal stories of the key players. Maybe the last European war where monarchs actively contributed. Excellent book.
Read Aug 2007 ( )
  mbmackay | Dec 6, 2015 |
This is a very good narrative of the relationship between Britain and Germany in the run up to the First World War, tracing events back a whole century to the post-Napoleonic War Congress of Vienna and the marriage of Victoria and Albert. The arms race of the construction of the titular dreadnoughts forms only a relatively small portion of the narrative. The concluding two chapters "Road to Armageddon" in Berlin and then in London detail extensively and sombrely the final negotiations, misunderstandings and bravado statements and actions of the final days and weeks leading up to the outbreak of the war.

Robert Massie is an excellent writer of narrative history. However, the book is flawed in that it is simply too long and there is too much repetition and coverage of the same ground in different parts of the book. The lengthy biographical portraits, covering the lives of all the main protagonists, are both a strength and a weakness: they are often fascinating and entertaining, but are often too lengthy and stray too far from the main thrust of the narrative for too long. Much of this detail might usefully have been included in an appendix. ( )
  john257hopper | May 3, 2015 |
Left unfinished; after the author completely overlooked the Venezuela Incident as one of the causes of the naval arms race, I lost interest. ( )
  BruceCoulson | Jan 27, 2014 |
This book got half a star because of its availability. If you don't have a basic book for European diplomacy, mostly British and German, and you don't like Tuchman, it's a perfectly good basic account. The best part of it deals with the German Cabinet, whose coverage is usually skimpy in English language books. ( )
1 vote DinadansFriend | Oct 27, 2013 |
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Fir Kim Massie, Jack May, Charles Davis, and Edmund Keeley Amicis a Iuvenibus and for Deborah
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345375564, Paperback)

"A classic [that] covers superbly a whole era...Engrossing in its glittering gallery of characters."
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert K. Massie has written a richly textured and gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century's first great arms race. Massie brings to vivid life, such historical figures as the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz, the young, ambitious, Winston Churchill, the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow, and many others. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tratedy in his powerful narrative. Intimately human and dramatic, DREADNOUGHT is history at its most riveting.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert K. Massie has written a richly textured and gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century's first great arms race. Massie brings to vivid life, such historical figures as the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz, the young, ambitious, Winston Churchill, the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow, and many others. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tratedy in his powerful narrative. Intimately human and dramatic, DREADNOUGHT is history at its most riveting.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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