Enjoy Pulitzer Prize(wish) History, Bio, General Non-fiction + science, economics, books. Big fan of World War 1 books.
There is no BEST BOOK about the Great War. The war is too big and complex for that. There is a great book for every aspect: Analysis, Great Power Politics, Leadership Dilemmas, Biographies, Military History, Social History, Emotional Aspects (a big section), pre-war factors, post-War impact, ties to WW2, etc.
But you have to start somewhere. If you're not sure whether you are interested in the Great War, start with The Guns of August. If you are sure you are interested in learning about it, read this book. The scope of this book is the whole war (1914-1918) while the former is about only the first month. But be aware that this book does not go into depth about all the issues listed above. It is simple a great telling of "The Story of the Great War" as the subtitle says.
This is a great introduction to the Great War. I've read about 20 books on the war and I wish I had read this book first. I would have had a better general awareness that way.
This is a truly excellent book. Especially for those who read more fiction than non-fiction.
I've read two big books about World War I, Tuchman's classic The Guns of August, and Keegan's The First World War. I've also read various World War II histories. There can be no doubt that the World Wars were actually one war. The terms, World War I and World War II, are the best, since to me they are abbreviations of, "World War, parts I and II".
Of all the accounts of this two-part warI have read, this one is the best. Meyer's is so masterful, so complete, that one would have to be a dedicated scholar to argue the points, particularly as to "Who started it?" Meyer let's nobody off the hook. As it stands, this book is a complete education for the layman. Like others, I was also impressed by the "Background" episodes, which not only added valuable context but gave the reader/listener breaks to refresh the long narrative.
And I must say that there is no better voice for this story than that of Robin Sachs. His rich, even, lyrical voice made the 28 hours of narration so easy and transparent that listener fatigue never set in. And yes, the British voice made it even better. There's an intimacy to Robin Sachs's storytelling such that to learn he died shortly after this, perhaps his greatest work, was felt as a personal loss.
A great story told by a great storyteller -- the perfect audio book.
Even though I had a great grounding in WWI history, I found this to be an excellent, new overview, with many new insights regarding the personalitys of the generals and political leaders on both sides.
And, the unending list of stupid and wasteful battle strategies over four long years is an experience that every member of Congress today should have to endure.
Very well done.
Simply the most interesting, informative, well read, contextual, detailed, engaging, well researched examination of all aspects of a fascinating period. The fact that a book this great was matched up with the perfect voice is such a relief. LISTEN AND ENJOY
Was an awesome and terrifying dive into the world that my great-grandparents were a part of. Shocking in its political similarities of today and sorrowful listening to the destruction of so many people. A great book to learn from on any occassion.
Background information that author gives on Cossacks is literally copy/pasted from some Russian propaganda resource. It's not even biased, but simply false.
Here is what CIA World Fact Book states about the topic:
"A new Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established during the mid-17th century after an uprising against the Poles. Despite continuous Muscovite pressure, the Hetmanate managed to remain autonomous for well over 100 years"
Robin Sachs does a great job narrating this book. I enjoy his solemn tone and his soothing accent/inflections. It's easy to listen to this book. I'm a Canadian listener, so I enjoyed hearing his perspective of the controversial General Currie. (I also enjoyed reading about General Monash and the Australian Corps.) Indeed, I liked how the authors delved into the motives and behaviours of many individual key players as much as the battles themselves. Another thing that stands out about this book is that after every chapter, Meyer provides interesting background information to help us understand the context better (e.g, we get a background of the Habsburg empire to help us understand the context and appreciate the implications of the Austro-Hungarian part of the story). They're like contextual footnotes that are detailed enough to be distinct chapters in themselves. This audiobook is a 'keeper' for me and I have replayed parts or all of it several times since I originally purchased it. Meyer does such a good job of describing the events leading up to the start of the war - it's fascinating and compelling (and frustrating, and sad). It's easy to blame Germany for much of the disaster that took place during the first half of the 20th century, but reality is much, much more nuanced and complex. I think that's what's great about books like this. Listen to this book, and also listen to other historians' perspectives in other WW1 books, and you can appreciate that it's naive to draw simple conclusions or place the blame squarely on one person or one country.
the first part of the book, which deals with the background of the various nations is very enlightening and al least for me made the outbreak of war more understandable. The sections regarding the ottomans and austria-hungary were particularly interesting. Later on, through no fault of the author, things get confused, the was was massive and complex, and including all the actions and figures in one book is a difficult task. My favorite part was the introduction of figures i had never heard of before, like john monash, and horace smith-dorien, as well as well as the fleshing out of those who only were names to me previously, like fedinand foch and felipe petain. overall, i recommend it.
As an avid reader of history, I enjoyed this detailed book. The narration is good and the numerous "background" histories brought the various causes of the war together succinctly. The one disappointment was that there was little to no information about the American contribution to the war effort other than the large amount of men being built up towards the end of the war. As a descendent of an American WWI veteran, that soured the last chapters of the book for me. Other than that, this is a very good book.
I say mostly objective because, unlike a lot of authors, Meyer doesn't seem to root for one side or the other. The story moves along quickly, a seemingly unending series of tragedies. I didn't realize how many people died in WWI, and it all seems so pointless. It would have been so easy to prevent, it seems to me. But the book is excellent. I appreciated how the author gave us Background sections that didn't fit chronologically but made helped explain other events.