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  • World War 1

    I was wondering if anyone knew of any really great books that fully cover the things leading up to, and during the First World War?

    Besides Churchill's The World Crisis......
    "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

    -Winston Churchill

  • #2
    Originally posted by CouldUseACigar View Post
    I was wondering if anyone knew of any really great books that fully cover the things leading up to, and during the First World War?

    Besides Churchill's The World Crisis......
    Thats a big subject.
    For the pre-war and early war, Tuchman's "Guns of August" and "Proud Tower" are excellent. For broad coverage of Germany and Austria-Hungary, Herwig's "The First World War" is very good. For coverage of France's war, Doughty's "Pyrrhic Victory" is the standard in English. For the BEF, there is a lot to choose from. Gary Sheffield's "Command and Control on the Western Front: The British Army's Experience 1914-18" has a lot to recommend to it, although its a bit short. For the war in the east, Norman Stone's "The Eastern Front" is the standard work, although Neiberg and Jordan do a solid job in "Eastern Front 1914-1920." For the Italian Front, Mark Thompson's "The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919" provides good coverage. If economics is your thing, check out Hew Strachan's "Financing The First World War."

    As for specific battles, you'd have to name some for references.

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    • #3
      Do you think The World Crisis is a good book though? Do you know how much the books cover?
      "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

      -Winston Churchill

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      • #4
        Originally posted by CouldUseACigar View Post
        Do you think The World Crisis is a good book though? Do you know how much the books cover?
        Well, its an entertaining set of books that tries to cover the gamut. But there is too much "lions led by donkeys" in it for me. Modern scholarship has exposed a lot of holes (read Bill Philpott's book on The Somme for just a sampling of what I mean). So I guess I'd say its a good place to start, but try not to form any strong opinions based on what he says. Use the book as starting point for further reading on specific topics. The same could be said for any general overview.

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        • #5
          Thank you, I'll read The World Crisis then take a look at your recommendations.

          "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

          -Winston Churchill

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          • #6
            I would highly recommend "A World Undone" by G.J. Meyer. It goes into a lot of detail on the circumstances leading up to the war, the state of each major participants military at the time and the overall political and social mood of the different areas of Europe in the early 1900's. Best of all I could detect no bias from the author for any particular side or country. Most iconic books on WWI I find extremely anglo-centric, this book does not fall into that category.

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            • #7
              I'll second Tuchman's Guns of August
              ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th
              IN MARE IN COELO

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              • #8
                The Pity of War, by Niall Ferguson. The Great War by Les Carlyon (an Australian perspective, but don't let that put you off,beautifully written ), The World War One Source Book, Philip J.Haythornthwaite (a good overall source).
                "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                Samuel Johnson.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jestre View Post
                  I would highly recommend "A World Undone" by G.J. Meyer. It goes into a lot of detail on the circumstances leading up to the war, the state of each major participants military at the time and the overall political and social mood of the different areas of Europe in the early 1900's. Best of all I could detect no bias from the author for any particular side or country. Most iconic books on WWI I find extremely anglo-centric, this book does not fall into that category.
                  I really enjoyed this book. The background chapters are really interesting.
                  "Ultimately communism is an impossible Utopian dream imposed by hypocrites who will commit mass murder to achieve absurd goals"- Trebuchet

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                  • #10
                    Robert Massie's Dreadnought and Castles of Steel comprehensively explain the arms race that centered on capital ships between Great Britain and Germany that came to fruition in WW I and the naval battles that ensued. Tuchman is indeed great for the first year of the war. John Keegan's World War One covers the entire war.
                    Lance W.

                    Peace through superior firepower.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by VancePolk View Post
                      I really enjoyed this book. The background chapters are really interesting.
                      I will defiantly have to get around to taking it off my bookshelf and reading it now.
                      Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jestre View Post
                        I would highly recommend "A World Undone" by G.J. Meyer. It goes into a lot of detail on the circumstances leading up to the war, the state of each major participants military at the time and the overall political and social mood of the different areas of Europe in the early 1900's. Best of all I could detect no bias from the author for any particular side or country. Most iconic books on WWI I find extremely anglo-centric, this book does not fall into that category.
                        I'm reading this now and it's a good read. Weaker on military operations than my other recommendation, Keegan's First World War, but very good on the background and politics of the war. And as pointed out, Keegan is Anglo-centric. I was a little jaded on what I felt was limited coverage of the US involvement. From what I'm reading so far in. A World Undone, less emphasis on the Eastern Front than Keegan.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lance Williams View Post
                          John Keegan's World War One covers the entire war.
                          Originally posted by Dunnigan
                          ...Keegan's First World War, but very good on the background and politics of the war. And as pointed out, Keegan is Anglo-centric. I was a little jaded on what I felt was limited coverage of the US involvement.
                          I can heartily recommend Keegan's First World War for the politics and events that led up to the breakout of the War.

                          For a really interesting read I can also recommend The Myth of The Great War by John Mosier. You don't have to agree with all of his arguments, but they are extremely compelling to read and may change your views on some things.


                          Cheers,
                          Dan.
                          So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.

                          Aldous Huxley: Ends and Means (1937)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dan M View Post


                            For a really interesting read I can also recommend The Myth of The Great War by John Mosier. You don't have to agree with all of his arguments, but they are extremely compelling to read and may change your views on some things.


                            Cheers,
                            Dan.
                            I too loved Mosier's "The Myth of The Great War" and just received his new book on Verdun today and hope to start it soon!!!!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CouldUseACigar View Post
                              I was wondering if anyone knew of any really great books that fully cover the things leading up to, and during the First World War?

                              Besides Churchill's The World Crisis......
                              Passed this way rather belatedly, but I would recommend Michael Howard (a master at concision), The First World War. In a small book of 143 pages, he gives you an executive summary from "things leading up to," "during," and the settlement. He advises further reading in a few good general studies some of which have suggested here and he recommends some good ones missed.
                              Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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