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Publisher's Summary

The world at the beginning of the 20th century seemed, for most of its inhabitants, stable and relatively benign. Globalizing, booming economies married to technological breakthroughs seemed to promise a better world for most people. Instead, the 20th century proved to be overwhelmingly the most violent, frightening and brutalized in history with fanatical, often genocidal warfare engulfing most societies between the outbreak of the First World War and the end of the Cold War. What went wrong? How did we do this to ourselves? The War of the World comes up with compelling, fascinating answers. It is Niall Ferguson's masterpiece.
©2005 Niall Ferguson (P)2006 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"This thought-provoking, highly engaging, and nearly-impossible-to-put-down book...challenges readers to think outside the box." (Library Journal)
"Big, bold and brilliantly belligerent." (The Sunday Telegraph

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Fresh History

Though abridged, the book manages to make a reasonably convincing case as to why the 20th Century was so bloody. Ferguson's theory is essentially this: hatred (of others) is an integral part of being human; so when peoples of different ethnicities living in close proximity experience economic instability, and when established order (or Empire) is in decline, the killing urge rears its ugly head waiting to be set free in the name of a war.

The World Wars, including the Cold War, are old subjects. However, Ferguson's writing throws out fresh perspectives, which alone will compensate for your valuable time.

The narration of Sean Barrett was excellent, as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ban Islam from civil society.

This book just goes to show how quickly people can turn into killers. After reading this, you will know that genocide and mass murder is in the future and will be carried out by Islam. Islam is already carrying out murder almost every day in Europe.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Niall
  • 06-25-10

Brilliant and Eye Opening

I loved this and find myself repeat listening often.
Puts the events of the last century into perspective.
Find out what your grand father actually fought for, and what our children may face in the future.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 02-06-09

Rethink history

This changed my perception of the history of the last century. I had had a conventional British Good Guys (apart from the opium wars and that was before my time) versus the Bad Guys (everyone else at different periods of time). By the end, I realised that, apart from the great dictators, we were all much the same in our intentions and morality. I suppose tha, from black-and-white I now see everything in different shades of grey. The style gripped me from the start - this is how history should be taught. I did feel that more could have been said on almost everything but I think this may have been an effect of the abridgement (who does decide that a book would be better abridged?). The reading was competent and clear but slightly too fast and would have benefited from a little more dramatic emphasis.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 01-15-15

bleak

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would never recommend this book to anyone who was not the biggest optimist

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

genocide is never enjoyable

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no a daily portion on the way to work was enough

Any additional comments?

If I didnt know there was goodness in the world I would not be able to listen to this bleak menu of suffering. I need to listen to something fun to get me back on track.
this is the first time I have had a book that I had to turn off because it was just to stressful. it is relentless.