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The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War

by Peter Hart

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21718126,937 (3.89)5
World War I altered the landscape of the modern world in every conceivable arena. Millions died; empires collapsed; new ideologies and political movements arose; poison gas, warplanes, tanks, submarines, and other technologies appeared. ""Total war"" emerged as a grim, mature reality. In The Great War, Peter Hart provides a masterful combat history of this global conflict. Focusing on the decisive engagements, Hart explores the immense challenges faced by the commanders on all sides. He surveys the belligerent nations, analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, and strategic imperatives. Russia, f… (more)
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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War by Peter Hart is a masterful and engrossing examination of one of the most significant conflicts in history. This book delivers a rich and detailed account of World War I, offering a captivating blend of strategic insights, personal narratives, and a broader understanding of the war's profound impact.

Hart's meticulous research and ability to make complex military campaigns accessible set this book apart. It presents the war's progression in a compelling and informative manner, giving readers a deep appreciation of the key battles and their consequences.

What distinguishes this book is its focus on the human experience of war. Through poignant accounts and personal stories, it provides an emotional connection to the soldiers who endured the horrors of the trenches. This human element makes the book not only informative but also deeply moving.

The inclusion of maps, illustrations, and primary source materials enhances the reader's understanding and immersion in the era. It offers a well-rounded view of the war, encompassing its political, economic, and social dimensions.

The book's readability and engaging narrative style make it accessible to a wide range of readers, from history buffs to those new to the subject. The prose is skillfully crafted, ensuring that the reader remains engrossed from start to finish.

In sum, The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War is an exceptional resource for those seeking a comprehensive and vivid account of World War I. It combines historical precision with a captivating storytelling style, making it an invaluable addition to the library of anyone interested in understanding the complexities and lasting impact of this pivotal period in history.
  sgtbigg | Nov 2, 2023 |
A comprehensive military history of the First World War that covers all major thesters, with an emphasis on the Western Front because that was where the war was decided. The text is filled with excerpts from soldiers' memoirs, which bring vividness to the consequences of tactical and strategic decisions. The maps could be better, but that is a problem easily remedied by the Internet. ( )
  le.vert.galant | Nov 19, 2019 |
5579 The Great War A Combat History of the First World War, by Peter Hart (read 8 Sep 2018) This 2013 book on World War One by a British historian, tells of the military and naval actions in the first world war, telling of other events concerning that war only incidentally. The book does not evidence that the author did exhaustive research. He intersperses his narrating of the war events with quotations from accounts by war participants or generals. I found these quotations not well weaved into the account and actually regretted when in my reading I came upon them--I felt they interrupted the narrative, even though some of those insertions were vivid indeed.. Regrettably, there is no bibliography as such and the footnotes show the paucity of the author's research. The author rejects any harsh criticism of the usually-criticized generals, and is pretty defensive of Haig and others. He does decry the waste of such stupid efforts as Gallipoli and strongly feels the war was to be decided on the Western Front and actions by the Allies to knock Turkey out of the war were short-sighted and one has to agree with him I think as to that. The Great War is such a dramatic event in modern history but the book's exclusion of the non-military aspects of the war made the book not as gripping as some of the books on the same subject that I have read. . ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Sep 8, 2018 |
Good narrative, and particularly good breakdown of the Balkan situation and warfare on Eastern Front. Major defect was a lack of maps which made the combat engagements and deployment of forces hard to follow. ( )
  VGAHarris | Jan 19, 2015 |
Being an account of World War I; as a "combat history" it leans to some extent on battle narratives (very well chosen, but ultimately repetitive for all that) and contains a certain amount of tactical detail. As is unfortunately predictable, given the author and publisher's nationality, there is considerable emphasis on the British military, who were, alas poor reader, involved mostly in tedious slogs between the trenches. At times this emphasis becomes more than a mere nuisance, as when he brushes aside the 'Miracle on the Marne' in a few paragraphs and then offers page after page of description of the mudfests in the north during which the British and Germans completed the 'Race to the Sea', generally considered much less important, and certainly less interesting. He is entirely dismissive of all the other fronts, even the Russian one, as 'sideshows'. He's entitled to his opinion (it's his book, after all), but I found it difficult to see how tossing a few more divisions into the West Front meatgrinder, especially before the Allied tactical innovations of the last year of the war, would have changed much. Above all, when one invests a month in a book, it had better be somewhere in the masterpiece neighborhood; this book is interesting reading throughout, but it's no masterpiece. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | Dec 12, 2014 |
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THE GREAT WAR was the single most important event of the twentieth century, shaping the world that we live in today.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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World War I altered the landscape of the modern world in every conceivable arena. Millions died; empires collapsed; new ideologies and political movements arose; poison gas, warplanes, tanks, submarines, and other technologies appeared. ""Total war"" emerged as a grim, mature reality. In The Great War, Peter Hart provides a masterful combat history of this global conflict. Focusing on the decisive engagements, Hart explores the immense challenges faced by the commanders on all sides. He surveys the belligerent nations, analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, and strategic imperatives. Russia, f

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