- Paperback: 880 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st edition (October 30, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143112392
- ISBN-13: 978-0143112396
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.5 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,570 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
This is the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories, first published by H.G. Wells in 1898. The novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator tells readers that "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's..."
Things then progress from a series of seemingly mundane reports about odd atmospheric disturbances taking place on Mars to the arrival of Martians just outside of London. At first the Martians seem laughable, hardly able to move in Earth's comparatively heavy gravity even enough to raise themselves out of the pit created when their spaceship landed. But soon the Martians reveal their true nature as death machines 100-feet tall rise up from the pit and begin laying waste to the surrounding land. Wells quickly moves the story from the countryside to the evacuation of London itself and the loss of all hope as England's military suffers defeat after defeat. With horror his narrator describes how the Martians suck the blood from living humans for sustenance, and how it's clear that man is not being conquered so much a corralled. --Craig E. Engler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Why, if life was improving so rapidly for so many people at the dawn of the 20th century, were the next hundred years full of brutal conflict? Ferguson (Colossus) has a relatively simple answer: ethnic unrest is prone to break out during periods of economic volatility—booms as well as busts. When they take place in or near areas of imperial decline or transition, the unrest is more likely to escalate into full-scale conflict. This compelling theory is applicable to the Armenian genocide in Turkey, the slaughter of the Tutsis in Rwanda or the "ethnic cleansing" perpetrated against Bosnians, but the overwhelming majority of Ferguson's analysis is devoted to the two world wars and the fate of the Jews in Germany and eastern Europe. His richly informed analysis overturns many basic assumptions. For example, he argues that England's appeasement of Hitler in 1938 didn't lead to WWII, but was a misinformed response to a war that had started as early as 1935. But with Ferguson's claims about "the descent of the West" and the smaller wars in the latter half of the century tucked away into a comparatively brief epilogue, his thoughtful study falls short of its epic promise. (Sept. 25)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Ferguson takes the reader on a tour of the twentieth century. And what a century it was. The colossal loss of human life and the damage to property was extraordinary. The century threw up a list of tyrants with Hitler, Mao and Stalin in leading roles. There was also an extensive list of support artists.
Yet, why was the last century so bloody? Ferguson posits that when three factors coincide, disaster is not far away. These three factors are ethnic conflict, economic volatility and empires in decline. The aforementioned Hitler, Mao and Stalin exploited these factors to the maximum.
The twentieth century is deemed by many military history buffs to be dominated by two world wars and then the Cold War. But, in Ferguson’s analysis, the whole century was one of conflict. Just consider the following as a sampler: the Russo-Japanese War, the rise of Hitler and the work of appeasement, the Korean War, the Vietnam War (called the American War in Vietnam), countless wars and insurgencies since the second world war in Africa. And this list is not definitive. As I suggest, it’s just a sampler. Ferguson covers all these and more.
I recommend this book without reservation to anyone interested in modern history. It has a grim topic but it is a great read.
* Classic sci-fi story
* In many senses created and popularized the sci-fi genre
* Vivid descriptions of Martians and the destruction they wrought
* Loved the scientific analysis of the Martians
* Real sense of dread instilled in a few moments
* Extremely implausible story today
* Very boring when the book switches to the point of view of the writer's brother
* Not much character development
* Too little focus on the actual aliens for my taste
* Anticlimactic ending
* Unnecessary and oddly placed superstition
"Yet so vain is man, and so blinded by his vanity, that no writer, up to the very end of the nineteenth century, expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed there far, or indeed at all, beyond its earthly level. Nor was it generally understood that since Mars is older than our earth, with scarcely a quarter of the superficial area and remoter from the sun, it necessarily follows that it is not only more distant from time's beginning but nearer its end."
H.G. Wells's 'The War of the Worlds' is, in my estimation, one of the few 'classics' that stands up to the title. It is certainly not the best sci-fi book ever written, in my opinion not even close to the best, but it's still a highly enjoyable read.
The book follows an anonymous, well educated writer recalling a recent, almost extinctive an alien invasion from Mars. (Remember, this was written in the 1800s, so intelligent beings on Mars was not nearly as implausible as it would be today.) The descriptions and images portrayed are real and detailed enough to make you feel like this event actually occurred, and at points, particularly in the beginning, the book is quite suspenseful. This feeling is never so strong as it is in the beginning, where it is said that the Martians have been unsympathetically observing us, and, unfortunately, the book never again reaches this point of wonder and suspense.
I found the descriptions and scientific analysis of the Martians to be, by far, the best parts of the book, particularly in two places - The beginning of the book, where the Martian environment is described and how this environment shaped their evolution is the first of these great moments. The second great moment is where the writer is in an advantageous spot where he is able to stealthily observe and analyze the Martian anatomy and physiology.
For me, the book suffers immensely when it turns from a sci-fi book into a thriller. In my opinion the descriptions of the fleeing citizens and wreckage of cities was quite boring (particularly when the point of emphasis switches from the original writer to his brother) and, regrettably, these descriptions probably took up over half of the book. It seems like the destruction of England itself was more of a focus than the actual alien invasion. The ending also left me very wanting and somewhat disappointed.
Overall, the excitement of the best moments are enough to overcome the dullness of the worst, leaving the book to be an enjoyable one.
"For that moment I touched an emotion beyond the common range of men, yet one that the poor brutes we dominate know only too well. I felt as a rabbit might feel returning to his burrow and suddenly confronted by the work of a dozen busy navvies digging the foundations of a house. I felt the first inkling of a thing that presently grew quite clear in my mind, that oppressed me for many days, a sense of dethronement, a persuasion that I was no longer a master, but an animal among the animals, under the Martian heel. With us it would be as with them , to lurk and watch, to run and hide; the fear and empire of man had passed away."
I have no idea how many times I've read this story. I have several editions, but this one, with the bright pink cover and the Edward Gorey illustrations, is especially important to me. It looks the same as the edition I checked out of the school library when I was eight years old, and again many times after that. It changed my life—it opened the door to a whole world of other science fiction, to a whole universe of imagination and possibility. It kindled my lifelong love of SF, and more than that, my dream of writing my own science fiction. Which has come true—I've had three novels professionally published so far. And I can trace it all back to this book. Its bright pink spine stood out on the library shelf and compelled me to pull it down; then the terrifying alien tripod on the cover compelled me to check it out. But it was the story inside that changed me.
Robert A. Hall
Author: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
(All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a classic that will remain with us for a long time, and I will read this again and share it many times.Read more