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The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 29, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
MacMillan begins by giving an overview of the involved nations as they were at the turn of the century - their political structure, alliances and enmities, their culture and economic status. She then takes us in considerable depth through the twenty years or so preceding the war, concentrating on each nation in turn, and going further back into history when required. She introduces us to the main players: political, military and leading thinkers. She explains how and why the two main alliances developed that divided Europe and shows the fears of each nation feeling threatened or surrounded by potential enemies. And she shows how this led to an arms race, which each nation initially thought would act as a deterrence to war. Throughout she draws parallels to more recent history and current events, sometimes with frightening clarity.
In the mid-section, MacMillan discusses public opinion and cultural shifts, highlighting the parallel and divisive growth of militarism and pacifism and how the heads of government had to try to reconcile these factions.Read more ›
Well-written and researched, with extensive notes and bibliography. A great use of first-person accounts, often multiple accounts by the various participants so one can contrast and compare, thereby drawing your own conclusions. Author Margaret MacMillan lends clarification and insight, yet never strays into the territory of letting her opinion be presented as fact.
If you're deeply intrigued by the First World War, then this book is a definite must read and a worthy addition to your library. My only caveat would be that this is NOT a book for casual reading nor for those who are not at least somewhat well versed in the subject. Readers falling into either of those two categories would probably be bored to tears and consider this book to be a tome.
According to the blurb, the finished edition should include photos, maps and illustrations, things the galley proof I read lacked. All could only make the book even more worthy of the FIVE STAR rating I have for THE WAR THAT ENDED PEACE. I thoroughly enjoyed it, learned yet more about a favorite subject and enthusiastically recommend it!
The major contribution of the work is the detailed and pertinent description of the main characters their weakness, follies, their basic humanity that helps to understand how we got there, which gives you a feel for why they made (failed to make) the decisions that ended peace. Terrifying thing is that things are not much different with our leaders. The details of the buildup, the plans, and the rivalries are masterfully described. So little is said about the internal situation of Serbia and on their leaders in the months before the war broke, like if it did not play a role in the conflict.
The major problem of the book is it excessive repetition that wears the reader down. How many times we need to be reminded that Russia had an alliance with France or that there was an arms race between the navies of Germany and Britain, or that Britain did not want to commit to anything, or that Russia was not ready for the war. It makes it look as if chapters were written by different hands that have not read each other. Granted, to edit these repetitions into a more coherent whole would be an almost impossible task in a volume of this magnitude, but it makes you wonder if the publication was rushed and there was no time for editing.
The books makes an extensive use of quotes from correspondence and conversations at the time, which gives you confidence that the analysis is done as if the outcome was not known, i.e.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
History books have a tendency to be kind of dry and this on is no exception. Having said that I must say this is a wonderful glimpse into the events leading to the Great War. Read morePublished 20 hours ago by James W. Shaw
Very informative on all aspects the reasons for the war as well as the personalities involved. Top notch on everything you would want plus it is so well written and readable.Published 12 days ago by kevin hodgson
The writing style makes this book extremely difficult to read. Too many tangents in almost all sentences make it very hard to read. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mary G. Snell
A good book but way to wordy. It repeats itself almost every chapter. Also, be prepared to listen to her liberal,socialist views. She has to add digs into Bush and Blair.Published 2 months ago by Brent Evans
The War That Ended Peace was very informative. It was well written. My only complaint was that it was at times a little tedious and was perhaps overall too long. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Eric Surette
Far too wordy, but should be expected from a female. She expects the reader to endure her liberal socialist views which very much detracts from an otherwise scholarlyPublished 2 months ago by Straight Arrow
This book is even better than "The Guns of August" by Barbara Tuchman. I gives a portrait of the life of Europeans just before the Great War. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed this. The general reader might be able to skip over a few details. This book covers some of the same ground as The Guns of August, but it provides more of the back... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jason D. Sands
The author did a masterful job of painting a word picture of prewar conditions and the personalities, motivation and thoughts of various people so that the train of events was much... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kelly