The First World War and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

First World War Unknown Binding – 1999


See all 21 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Introducing The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Knoopf; BCE edition (1999)
  • ASIN: B002BW57YY
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,296,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Keegans book is dense and detailed, well researched, and yet understandable and a pleasure to read!
Paul H.
The book thereafter degenerates into the minutiae of troop movements, offering little insight and no maps to help the reader follow what Keegan is talking about.
Marc Wolinsky
The First World War is another great Keegan book, and a must read for anyone who wishes to have deeper knowledge of that cataclysmic event.
C M Magee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Boris Aleksandrovsky on January 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
John Keegan' "The First World War" is one of those rare books which combine the thoroughly researched descriptions of history, technology and means of warfare with nuances of psychology and mystery of the Great War. Keegan starts with the overview of diplomatic positions of the Great powers involved in the war (although his analysis of origins is on his own admission is just a summary of prior work), then proceeds to the breakout of the conflict. In subsequent chapters Keegan covers every year of the Great War on the Western, Eastern, Middle Eastern, Italian and Mediterranean theatres of war in a thorough and scholarly fashion. Very soon a pattern emerges - a static trench warfare on the Western front, in-conclusive war of movement on the Eastern front with untold unaccounted casualties, diversionary operations on the secondary theatres costing significant resource drain, and pointless war of heroics, despotism and bravery on the Italian front.
What I like particularly about the book is the analysis of military strategy and tactics of the main participant in the manner which somebody without training in military science can easily comprehend. Keegan points out how lack of communication, rigid bureaucratic organization and the lack of appreciation of the tactical variability of the war caused British failures to command a decision at Somme in 1916 and Ypres and Flanders in 1917; how ill-prepared was French army for defensive operations due to its romantic "esprit de corpes"; how Russian lack of coordination, material supply and organization lead to horrendous losses on the Western front. Germans came out as good fighters, allowing their field commanders high degree of freedom, yet weak strategically, unable to concentrate the efforts on a single point of the decisive breakthrough.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
137 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Felix Sonderkammer on July 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a one-volume narrative outlining the major events of the First World War, this book succeeds. It is a great introduction to the war. I wish, however, to state my reservations about the book.

One oddity is that the first three chapters cover the events leading to the war, but the last chapter ends abruptly with the armistice. It would have been nice to have a chapter on the Treaty of Versailles.

The book incorporates two previously published articles, as the acknowledgements acknowledge. This leads to the repetition of certain data, as it appears that they were not sufficiently edited to fit in with the rest of the book.

Keegan is British, and it is obvious. He emphasizes repeatedly how the British army was never defeated by the Germans except in one campaign. The Australians are praised as the world's greatest soldiers without further elaboration. He explicitly blames Germany's naval construction campaign preceding the war for the war itself, presumably because it challenged Britain's benign supremacy. The deaths of British soldiers are lamented with poignancy that overflows into sentimentality.

To be fair, the book was written for a British audience, and these excesses are much more modest than they might have been. Keegan seems to have tried hard to be evenhanded, and these excesses are largely superficial and forgivable.

Lastly, Keegan admits that this book does not break new ground. A glance at the endnotes reveals that most of the material from this book was taken from secondary sources. Each chapter seems to have come from three or so books. Thus, this is not a work of history so much as a gloss on history written by others.
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Paul H. on December 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Keegan does it well! This book illuminates the war to end all wars and captures the sweep of the first global conflict. Keegan details the primary causes and the primary instigators of the conflict. You really come to understand how about 15 individuals and a lot of national pride led to the deaths of millions. While not a truly "modern" war, many of the instruments of death were well hoaned (e.g. the rifle, the machine gun and artillery). This book describes the horror of trench warfare, details the attacks and defenses, the general's attempts to break the stalemate, the mathematics of attrition, the political motivations, and most importantly, the effect on nations that established the groundwork for the second world war. No modern history, military history, or the 20th century history collection is complete with out a text such as this! Keegans book is dense and detailed, well researched, and yet understandable and a pleasure to read!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas E. Sarantakes on May 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
One of the best known military historians writing today is Sir John Keegan. A former faculty member at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, Keegan is now the defense editor for "The Daily Telegraph." He made a name for himself as a historian with "The Face of Battle."

It is hardly surprising then that Keegan decided to write a general account of World War I. During this conflict, the British Army grew to its largest size ever, but the four years of this war initiated the decline of the United Kingdom as a power in world affairs. The book presents the Great War in the elegant prose that readers have come to expect from Keegan.

The author brings his expertise to bear in many important ways. He shows that the von Schliefen Plan was intellectually flawed from the get go. It could never have worked. Technological limitations, primarily those in communication, made it almost impossible for commanders to exert the type of control they had had in the past, or would have again in the future. At the same time, weapons with heavy firepower and the wealth of industrial nations allowed the combatants to put huge armies into the field on a scale larger than ever before.

Keegan focuses primarily on the experiences of the British Army. The Germans receive second billing. The French get much less attention even though they had more divisions in the field than their allies on the other side of the English Channel. Western Europe is the main area that Keegan discusses. Naval warfare, the Eastern Front and operations in Africa and Asia get far less attention.

According to Keegan, the ultimate factor in the allied victory was the sheer number of American troops that began arriving in France in 1918.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

John Keegan's books include The Iraq War, Intelligence in War, The First World War, The Battle for History, The Face of Battle, War and Our World, The Masks of Command, Fields of Battle, and A History of Warfare. He is the defense editor of The Daily Telegraph (London). He lives in Wiltshire, England.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?