19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Solid book on the first year of World War I,
This review is from: Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War (Hardcover)
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I fell in love with Max Hasting's writing style with his 1984 book "The Battle for the Falklands". However, I didn't find this book as easy to follow as that one.
The first section of the book provides the social background for the interpersonal relationships (or lack thereof) among the political players. Hastings also gives the social rationale for the anarchists' assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, which prompted the war.
The book then delves into the description of the major campaigns of 1914, concluding with the stalemate that led to the immobile trench warfare for which the war is most famous for.
The type-setting made the text seem very dense. At 600+ pages, I guess the publisher needed to do something to keep the page-count down. Luckily for us, they chose to keep the outstanding photographs, maps and charts to illustrate the battles.
It's a good book to understand the political nuances that caused the war, but readers need to be aware they are only getting the first year of combat. I enjoyed it, but will leave the debate to the more scholarly as to whether Hasting's conclusions are correct.