A groundbreaking historical study, Norman Stone's The Eastern Front 1914-1917 was the very first authoritative account of the Russian Front in the First World War to be published in the West.
In this now-classic history he dispels the myths surrounding a still relatively little-known aspect of the war, showing how inefficiency rather than economic shortage led to Russia's desperate privations and eventual retreat.
He also interprets the connection between the war and the chaos that followed, arguing that although fighting had almost ceased by the end of 1916, Russia was still in turmoil - undergoing a period of change that would inexorably lead towards revolution.
©1975 Norman Stone (P)2013 AudioGO Ltd
"A classic account...that even after 30 years remains essential reading." (Sunday Times)
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Norman Stone’s book is one of the few books that look with any detail at the events that took place in the east during World War One. Winston Churchill wrote the first book that addresses the eastern front during WWI but he covered the British viewpoint. Stone’s book was written in 1975 and it suffers from lack of access to the Russian archives other than that it was well research. The book is significant because the events helped shape one of the great events of modern history, the Russian Revolution. Stone’s history is a military one, at times his detailed reconstruction of events including movement of regiments; number of guns, men and so is most tiresome. One of Stone’s themes is that the shape of the war, on a macro and micro scale was determined by wider change taking place in Russia. The Austro-Hungarian government was in chaos and their army was dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century. Germany had planned to concentrate its forces on the western front and have Austro-Hungarian military covered a good portion of the eastern front. The book covers in detail what happen with this approach. The author’s description of the strategies involved and the failings of all sides that let to war is well research. His discussion of war economics was most interesting. John Telfer did a good job narrating the book. This book does provide the big picture of WWI as many people forget about the battle of the eastern front. This book would be of most interest to those interested in military history. Next year 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One.
Inostrancevia - the uber Gorgonopsian.
I think the audio edition compliments the book - read book first and then listen. You may have fade moments if you listen first.
This book is not exactly written with fireworks at the end of chapters, so I think a memorable moment was during the analysis of Russian industrial expansion over the course of the war and the contrast with concurrent increasing stagnation in Russian military effectiveness. This idea is at odds with many standard accounts. But as you will hear, the data does not lie.
Prof. Stone's choice words for the Russian command after the defeat at Lake Naroch. He did not mince words.
This book is considered a classic account of Eastern Front of WWI. Prof. Stone definitely burned the midnight oil in many a Russian archive researching this book. I neither laughed nor cried, but I murmured hmmmm.... and that's interesting......... at least 48 times.
If you say or think you are a student of military history and you do not have this book in your library you really should check yourself, look into the mirror, slink out of your hole like the fraud you are, crawl on your knees in penance for your sins to your local bookstore (good luck finding this book at the chain stores) and purchase / read it. After that, get the audio version and reread it with audio. Think of it as an odyssey of purification and self realization.
I was disappointed by this book. I was anticipating a straightforward narrative of the Eastern Front with a focus on military history. This book failed to provide this. It provides no real coherent narrative of the events of the Eastern front. I came away with no better understanding of the military events of the eastern front than I went in with, which was sorely disappointing. The book is also very abrupt, it begins and ends without any sort of summing up or reflections. I was also disappointed that it failed to discuss in any detail the experiences of the soldiers on the ground, this book did not give me an understanding of what it was like to be a soldier on the eastern front.
One annoying aspect of the audio of this book was that the narrator read, out loud, the various charts and tables, most of which were focused on Russian industrial output. These long recitations of numbers, which lacked the visual cohesion that makes such tables useful, were boring, pointless and made the book more difficult to follow.
The book focuses largely on Russia's management of its war economy. Stone goes into great detail about the industrial machinations of the Russian state, and the mismanagement in that area that contributed to its failure in the war. If you are interested in this aspect of the eastern front, then this is the book for you. For me, these sections were interesting, but were excessively dragged out and not supplemented by a military narrative. If you want to understand the military history of the eastern front and/or the experience of the soldiers on the ground, then I would not recommend this book.
Yes and no. It's very dry. It's well researched to be sure, but very statistical. He, like many history writers, uses French phrases without a translation. Parts are very good. I like the details about the battles. Especially the Romanian front, which has received very little coverage. I just think for the most part, it's far too general: "this division attacked this division at this place. The Russians had x amount of men, x amount of heavy guns, x amount of light guns.....etc" these are all important facts to be sure, but first hand accounts would go a long way to making a better story.
He repeatedly says "thousand million" as opposed to "billion". He is British and perhaps that's the normal way there. If so, then it's fine, but it makes me cringe every time I hear it. Other than that- he's a fine narrator.
I would love to see a documentary focusing on the eastern front in World War I
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Drop some of the statistics, not all but some. Author continually threw too many statistics in his narrative. At times the author was just meandering aimlessly.
I was reluctant because of other reviews but with so little regarding the subject, I thought I’d try it. My impression is that Mr. Stone is a great academic but unfortunately a poor story teller. It’s a slow plod. Almost like reading about the three years in real time. It would be best if you knew the history of World War One well, because the author assumes that you do. Cautiously recommend for scholars of the time frame, simply because there's so little in the way of definitive material on this matter. If a casual reader of the Great War, recommend you stay clear. Consider "A World Undone" (available here), it's a general history but an excellent narrative.
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