The First World War is one of history’s greatest tragedies. In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed 20 million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today.
World War I is unique in the number of questions about it that remain unsettled. After more than 90 years, scholars remain divided on these questions, and it seems likely that they always will. A World Undone does not claim to have all the answers - if answers are even possible. However, it will provide listeners with enough information to understand why the questions persist, and perhaps in some cases, to arrive at conclusions of their own. A World Undone is a grand, tragic story brilliantly told.
About the author: G. J. Meyer is a professional writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Harper’s, and many other publications. While working for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship by Harvard University. He is the author of the New York Times best seller The Tudors, the Edgar Award-winning The Memphis Murders, and other works.
©2006 G. J. Meyer (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A World Undone is an original and very readable account of one of the most significant and often misunderstood events of the last century. With a historian’s eye for clearheaded analysis and a storyteller’s talent for detail and narrative, G. J. Meyer presents a compelling account of the blunders that produced the world’s first ‘great war’ and set the stage for many of the tragic events that followed.” (Steve M. Gillon, resident historian, the History Channel)
“Thundering, magnificent…This is a book of true greatness that prompts moments of sheer joy and pleasure. Researched to the last possible dot…It will earn generations of admirers.” (Washington Times)
“Meyer’s sketches of the British Cabinet, the Russian Empire, the aging Austro-Hungarian Empire, the leaders of Prussia with their newly minted swagger, are lifelike and plausible. His account of the tragic folly of Gallipoli is masterful.” (Los Angeles Times)
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.
must read for WWI history. excellent and thorough. very good narration. gives good perspective on the root of some of the geopolitical problems we still face today.
Software engineer and avid, lifetime student. I like deep, thoughtful non-fiction, and fiction that compliments and enriches it.
What really sets this book apart is explained in the prologue - the book attempts to be a (first) true catch-all, explaining the context of every important facet of the events surrounding WWI, but with reasonable depth so as to keep the interest of the average listener. From the history and influence of the Kazaks, to the way WWI impacted literature and media, this book is a pure success. But fair warning, even if you are familiar with the horrors of 20th century warfare, this book will still probably evoke strong feelings and almost cause you to - a little bit - sense what it was really like to be a WWI soldier, to be a wife on the homefront, to be a british MP evolving in views throughout the disasters. Still, a must read. It is one of the few books i couldn't recommend more.
Good narration for the audio and the book is a nice overview of the war. I especially enjoyed the background sections that were inserted between chapters of the main narrative.
Probably one of my favorite audiobook, covering a very interesting time. Robin Sachs does an excellent job narrating. If you're just getting into WW1 history, this is a great place to start.
I found this book a great introduction to learn about WW1, I recommend this highly to any one wanting a general overview of the war and the many aspects in it. Great narration, was very enjoyable to listen to.
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