The First World War
by John Keegan
Editor: Random House USA Inc
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The final account of the Great War and national best-seller of one of our most eminent military historians, John Keegan.The First World War created the modern worldAn unprecedented conflict, ferocity, it abruptly ended the period of relative peace and prosperity of the Victorian era, triggering such demons of the twentieth century as mechanical warfare and the mass of death.It has also helped to pave the way for ideas that have shaped our times-modernism in the arts, new approaches to psychology and medicine, radical thinking about economics and society, and thus undermining the faith in rationalism and liberalism that has prevailed in Europe since the Enlightenment.The First World War probes the mystery of how a civilization worthy of its realization could have propelled such a ruinous conflict into ruin and takes us behind the scenes of negotiations between Europe, crowned heads (all linked by blood ties) and ministers, and their cursed efforts to defuse the crisis.Keegan reveals how, through an astonishing failure of diplomacy and communication, a bilateral dispute has increased to engulf an entire continent.But Keegan’s heart is superb story is, of course, his analysis of the military conflict.With authority and insight, he recreates the nightmare of the commitments whose names have become legendary, such as Verdun, the Somme and Gallipoli, among them-and sheds new light on the strategies and tactics employed, particularly the contributions of geography and technology.No less central to Keegan’s account is the human sideHe informs us with the thoughts of the intriguing personality who has supervised the tragically useless catastrophe-heads of state, such as Russia is unhappy tsar, Nicholas II, the famous warmakers like Haig, Hindenburg and Joffre.But Keegan reserves his most touching personal sympathy for those whose individual efforts in history have not recorded–“millions of anonymous, indistinguishable, undi
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