I loved this short history which aimed to explain the historic precedents / underpinnings to the WWI outbreak. It is an excellent book for those who are relatively new to the subject and want an insightful perspective on the great war. An example of one of the the author's key insights is that one could argue that World War I ended with the fall of the Soviet empire in 1989 (we traditionally refer to this as the "cold war").
I.e. WWI sounded the death knell for many fixtures of western civilization (the Ottoman Empire, the Hapsburg dynasty, etc.) and the effects of this colossal rupture (analogous to the fall of Western half of the Roman Empire in 410 AD) reverberated through the remainder of the 20th century, manifesting itself in WWII and the Cold War. In fact, we still feel the effects of the WWI rupture today, and historians in future generations may look upon the entire period subsequent to WWI as a single historic event (again, similar to how we view the formation of Europe as a function of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
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