I haven't read the book, and would not have purchased it but for listening I thought I would try it, being a history buff.
No real comparison. It's unique in itself.
It wasn't just a book being read, it was similar to a series of lectures where the instructor was passionate about his subject
I was pleasantly surprised by this this book, expecting dry lectures, the material was interesting and well laid out,
This lecture series is very informative and well presented. Professor Ramsden knows his subject matter well and feels confortable in presenting this to us.
My complaint tho is with his presentation. Professor Ramsden has this annoying habit of pausing mid sentence multiple times which makes this a challenging course to listen to. This might be typical of british lectorers but for a yank born in Brooklyn, it can be annoying.
That being said, once the listener becomes "immune" to the delivery style, this becomes an enjoyable and informative listen.
The material is presented as a story... it is not about facts and figures. The instructor does an excellent job of telling you the story of the war, and the world that existed at the time. I was already familiar with the war, but still learned quite a bit from listening.
I most liked that the material is presented as a story.
The narrator was more a storyteller than "teacher teaching a class". I really appreciate that style of teaching history.
If you have interest in better understanding the lead up to the war, the war itself and the ways that it helped shape our world, this is an excellent course. If you are interested in a methodical explanation of facts and figures (different weapon systems, order of battle), then this is probably not the best choice.
The narrator seemed to ramble and ramble on and on in a very dry tone. I believe he is knowledgeable, but he just didn't deliver the material in a clear way so that the listener actually learned.
His presentation made it difficult to learn.
He stuttered quite a bit throughout the course and it was apparent that there were many points at which there was splice and second or third take.
Disappointed. I love learning and am sad to say that I have so little knowledge about World War I. I truly wanted to learn more about the war. I logged on and took a "final exam" that is on the Modern Scholar website. I only got a 57% on the final. In other academic type activities, I usually score over 90.
I hate to complain and get something in return, but I wish I could have this credit back.
This is an eight-hour lecture series on World War I, a topic so huge that the time limit constrains Professor Ramsden to useful summary and clear ideas that may surprise and delight even veteran WWI readers, as it did me. The Modern Scholar series is a very good university-quality lecture series with riveting lecturers, in my experience, and this is a fine example of the line.
Prof. Ramsden hits all the stories we need to know because they represent WWI in our culture. So it's a good starting place or a good review. But importantly, he states clearly and simply summaries of situations and ideas behind battle plans, something that almost no source does because the detail of WWI, the millions dead, the endless trenches, the hopelessness of the carnage for years, overwhelms us all. For instance, Prof. Ramsden says the point of Gallipoli was first to sail the great British fleet right into the Dardanelles past Constantinople, thus overawing the Turks, keeping them out of the war, and securing passage of the Straits to resupply Russia. But that didn't work, because the Turks sank a lot of the ships at the entrance to the Straits. So the planners said, no problem, we'll just land soldiers on the Gallipoli peninsula and they can run over to the forts guarding the Straits, silence the guns, and then the ships can sail majestically through. As we know, what happened instead was total catastrophe on land, also. It is very helpful to stay out of the details of a given disaster long enough to understand what people were trying to do, what was going on overall, and that is a strong point by Professor Ramsden.
He does the same with the end of the war, reminding us that there has been a controversy from 1918 till now about whether the western powers should have fully defeated Germany, including invasion, to persuade Germany it was defeated and thus perhaps avoid World War II. He agrees that Germany never believing it had been defeated (and "machinations" stealing their victory) was a cause of WWII. But he crisply concludes that it simply could not have been done, for a number of reasons that could not possibly have been gotten past -- that they stopped the war as best they could at the time and nothing better was possible. I found that deeply satisfying, because I agree with it. Should have been done better, couldn't be, so much for that.
I found this book to be fascinating as far as the author, John Ramsden, taking us back in detail to what is commonly referred to as "The Great War", WWI. A time when many of the European countries were emerging from their "fiefdoms" that was prevalent throughout the previous centuries, to a point where they desired more and more control over the European continent.
After all was said and done, the finger-pointing and blame was directed towards the country of Germany because of their idealistic and aggressive maneuvers that dictated both World War I and World War II. After World War I, Germany had to operate underneath the doctrine of the "Treaty of Versailles", which Germany fought against and moved away from during the rise of the Nazi regime, which of course led us into World War II.
This is a short, quick read, but it's fascinating and full of details that field in a lot of blanks that I had in regards to World War I.
I applaud the author, John Ramsdem, for a job well done in detailing the story of a story that has been told many times before!
Got nothing better to do than to listen to 2 books a week
WW I defined our current world politically, economically, socially and geographically - few aspects of our 21st century lives are not affected by this war. Definitely a read for any historian.
Though no specific character was identified, I would select the average British soldier as someone I sympathized with.
The narrator made me feel as if I was at dinner with him and he was relating his personal experiences - which made the listen quire enjoyable.
No extreme reactions
WW I changed our world and gives us insights into some of the same problems we face almost 100 years later.
Very interesting facts and a thorough job of explaining WW1. I learned a ton. This along with the Modern Scholar "The Modern Scholar: Six Months That Changed the World" explain a lot about the state of our world today.
I wish I had listened to this book when I first started reading about the Great War. Many of the facts were not new to me, but were presented in a concise and organized outline that would be perfect for someone who wanted an overview of the principal players and the primary battles and conflicts of the War. But the lecturer also included enough detail and background that I still felt like I learned a great deal from this book. If you are just starting to study this period of time I think this book, then George, Nicholas & Wilhelm, The Guns of August, The Zimmerman Telegram and finally Paris, 1919 would be the perfect reading list for you.
Military history is not normally my thing, but I liked John Ramsden's overview of the Great War. His succinct account of the fighting on the Western Front explained how both sides got bogged down, and why the Allies eventually broke through. He also explained how disparate events, such as the submarine war, other theatres and the Russian Revolution, affected the outcome of the main conflict between France and Germany. He also covers other topics, like the home front and the war poets. John Ramsden is a skilled speaker, who doesn't shout or leave long pauses in his speach, as some others do. He's prompted me to read up more on the subject.