- Paperback: 608 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; Revised ed. edition (March 3, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465057128
- ISBN-13: 978-0465057122
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 87 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Pity Of War: Explaining World War I Revised ed. Edition
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"A rich and provocative book, evocative and heartbreaking. Ferguson is a talented writer and a versatile scholar." -- The Atlantic Monthly
"An illuminating synthesis of current knowledge on the war. The reader will find plenty of fresh information and challenging ideas on the conflict's most important aspects." -- The New York Times Book Review
"Brings for the first time the carnage of 1914-18 into sharp, unmystified focus.
This is analytical history at its mordant best. With all its other merits, The Pity of War is also a work of grace and feeling." -- The Economist
"[Niall Ferguson is] the most talked-about British historian of his generation." -- The New York Times
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Top customer reviews
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To begin with, the book has at least two books in it. The first one being the analysis of causes, inevitibility and economics of the Great War. The second is a hapazardly collected, very subjective ideas on why men fight.
The style is too cumbersome and some of the analysis was circular. Some points are repeated over and over. The economic data was very through and interesting but maybe overdone. He has done a good job analyzing the very beginning of the war and all the possible exits that various parties, mainly UK missed before the conflict got very much out of hand. Ferguson has made a very good argument about how Britain did not have a compelling reason to enter the war in the way she did and exploded the conflict into catastrophic proportions. Britain did not have to waste so many of his young for so little gain. Kaiser was no Hitler.
He has done great disservice to his thesis by limiting his scope only to continental Europe. After all, Britain's designs on the spoils of the "sick man of Europe", Ottoman Empire was a major factor in Britain's policy at the time. With this vital piece of the puzzle missing, the conclusions about Britain's ability or willingness to prevent a World War is doomed to be inaccurate. Middle East was the prize Churchill was after and his policies left no choice for the Young Turks but to join up with Kaiser.
The carnage of the Great War is well quantified and highlights how inapt the generals were and their Napoleonic tactics combined with modern weapons contributed to incredible loss rates in the field.
Ferguson fails to give the book a character and a consistent theme. There is also his personal involvement with the topic that surfaces occasionally and awkwardly. His analysis and conclusions are not crisp, most of it buried in lengthy arguments and conter-arguments with himself. Especially in the second half of the book, he is well out of his depth and expertise while he tries to expand into the topic of war and fighting at a personal level.
I would only recommend this book only for the very hard-core World War I buffs.
Most recent customer reviews
Niall Ferguson is not just a contrarian thinker, he's a brilliant thinker.Read more