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The First World War: The War to End All Wars Paperback – September 25, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
THE FIRST WORLD WAR brings together THE FIRST WORLD WAR: THE EASTERN FRONT, 1914-1918 (EH 13); THE FIRST WORLD WAR: THE WESTERN FRONT, 1914-1916 (EH 14); THE FIRST WORLD WAR: THE WESTERN FRONT, 1917-18 (EH 22); and THE FIRST WORLD WAR: THE MEDITERRANEN FRONT, 1914-1923 (EH 23). Geoffrey Jukes authored the Eastern Front book; Peter Simkins, the two Western Front volumes; and Michael Hickey, the Mediterranean Front book.
On the plus side, the Osprey 2013 compilation offers the opportunity of having all four volumes under one cover. Seemingly a straight reprint with no updating, THE FIRST WORLD WAR is entertainingly written, nicely illustrated and fairly easy on the pocketbook ($30.00).
As a general WWI history however, the 2013 book is a mixed bag. The four books are really histories of the land war with scant attention given to the air war, naval war, America's involvement, etc. (The once-over-lightly approach reflects the page limitations of the ESSENTIAL HISTORIES series, which were capped at 96 pages).
Moreover, most of THE FIRST WORLD WAR shows a pro-British bent. The Simkins and Hickey contributions all emphasize the contributions and experiences of British troops on the various fronts. Their sections, for example, feature detailed write-ups on the experiences of individual 'Tommies' and Brit civilians.Read more ›
As for the war itself, it does a pretty thorough job on the ground war in the three main theaters described in the component volumes: Western, Eastern and Mediterranean. But that's about as far as it goes.
The naval war is only glossed over; how a book like this can avoid subjects like the SMS Emden, the Lusitania, and the Battle of Jutland is puzzling. The air war fares even worse, with just a quick essay on how it changed warfare, but no details. The American effort in the last year of the war is also inadequately covered.
Also, there is no mention of the African, Asian and Pacific actions, which, while not significant, still were important enough to get some description.
The book is a compilation of four earlier volumes. Clearly, there should have been a fifth.....
For those seeking a more in-depth on the subject this author recommends Hew Strachen's history of the First as well as John Keegan's history. These are two much more serious books for those with more time and interest in the subject.
In a war which was eventually won on the Western Front - with the advent of the tank being a crucial factor, one should never lose sight of the fact that the German U Boat campaign was so very nearly an overall deciding factor in favour of Germany in 1917! Nevertheless, the outcome was the outcome and with it came an end to both the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires.
What I had not previously considered, however, was the statistic that, including all peripheral smaller seas - Adriatic, Aegean etc, the Mediterranean covers a million square miles of water. That is a huge area for any country to attempt to control and this book provides an entertaining overview of the military and naval operations which took place both at sea and on the shores surrounding this huge expanse of water throughout the years in question.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very nice photos and maps, including battle tactic maps. The main drawback for me is that the Authors, being Britons lay too much blame on Germany ( steering blame away from... Read morePublished 9 months ago by L. Franklin
With 2014 marking the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, 2003's "The First World War - The War to End All Wars" by Peter Simkins, Geoffrey Jukes, & Michael... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Paul L.
I bought this book because I liked the maps and the photos...they are very good...but the history is so pro-British I'd say this book is almost fiction.. I'm very disappointed.Published 14 months ago by Volkster