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New York : Basic Books 2009.
Item Description
Originally published: London : Allen Lane, 2007.
"A short history"--Cover.
Physical Description
xiv, 226 p. : ill., maps ; 22 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Norman Stone, 1941- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

For readers trepidatious about plowing through a weighty standard World War I history, there is the brief alternative Michael Howard offered in The First World War (2002) and now Stone's précis. Setting the table for 1914, Stone defines the lineups of the Entente and Central Powers, their underlying conflicts of interest, and their military preparations for a general European war. That done, he paraphrases the strategic thinking of German leaders—better war now than wait for France and Russia to complete their armament programs—that induced them to risk an international explosion in 1914. From the illusions of rapid victory in one campaign, Stone elides to the hopeful successor strategies shattered by trench warfare, rendering his synopses of failed offensives East and West in vernacular language that conveys history's summary judgments of generals' performances. A concise anticipator of his audience's implicit questions, such as what protracted a seemingly futile war, Stone, with distinctive wryness, introduces WWI's origin, conduct, and consequences with emphasis on essentials. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The distinguished Stone (history, Bilken Univ., Ankara, Turkey; The Eastern Front: 1914–1917) has compressed five years of war into admirably terse and effective prose. While full of bons mots, this volume is so compressed that it will probably not be accessible as a primer but could serve as a capstone for advanced study. It should be a part of everyone's World War I collection.—EB [Page 92]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Stone is as unconventional as he is brilliant, and this provocative interpretation of the Great War combines impressive command of the literature with a telling eye for relevant facts and a sensitive ear for telling epigrams. Stone presents a Europe that in 1914 bestrode the world like the proverbial colossus. Four years later, the continent faced a spectrum of disasters: shattered economies, shattered societies, shattered lives and shattered illusions. Stone demonstrates the contingent nature of the war's outbreak and analyzes the continued failure to achieve decision on the Western Front until 1917. Stone specializes in Great War Russia, does a first-rate job of presenting the consequences of the collapse of four empires: Hapsburg, German, tsarist and Ottoman. He challenges current interpretations of the postwar treaties, presenting them as a list of failures. The attempt to integrate the world economy collapsed. The postwar expansion of colonial empires proved ephemeral. The League of Nations "declined into irrelevance." Stone reserves his harshest criticism for the punitive terms imposed on a Germany convinced neither of its defeat nor the injustice of its cause. That, he asserts convincingly, laid the groundwork for a second, more terrible conflict. Photos, maps. (May) [Page 52]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Describes the causes, events, and aftermath of World War One.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The First World War was the overwhelming disaster from which everything else in the twentieth century stemmed. Fourteen million combatants died, a further twenty million were wounded, four empires were destroyed, and even the victors' empires were fatally damaged. The war began on horseback, with generals employing bayonet charges to gain ground, and ended with attacks resembling the Nazi blitzkriegs. What started as a massive grab for imperial riches was quickly transformed into an industrialized bloodbath whose loot proved worthless.This was a war that created the modern world. The boundaries between nations in Eastern Europe set by the treaty of Brest-Litovsk strikingly resemble those of today. When the war began, medical care was almost primitive, and severely wounded men were likely to perish; by 1918, a mere 1 percent of wounded men died. World War One dragged humanity from the nineteenth century forcibly into the twentieth - and then at Versailles, cast Europe on the path to World War Two as well.In World War One, Norman Stone has achieved the almost impossible task of writing a brief book on this epic war. A brisk history whose brevity belies its wealth of detail, World War One is Stone's retelling of a complex and pivotal conflict.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In 1914, a new kind of war came about, bringing with it a new kind of world. World War One began on horseback, with generals employing bayonet charges to gain ground, and ended with attacks resembling the Nazi blitzkriegs. The scale of devastation was unlike anything the world had seen before: Fourteen million combatants died, a further twenty million were wounded, and four empires were destroyed. Even the victors’ empires were fatally damaged.An overwhelming disaster from which the world is still recovering, World War One can seem baffling in its complexity. But now Norman Stone, one of world’s greatest military historians, has composed a dazzlingly lucid and succinct history of the conflict. Stone has distilled a lifetime of teaching, arguing, and thinking into this brisk and opinionated account of the fundamental tragedy of the twentieth century.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

An eminent historian distills the War to End All Wars into a concise and brilliant single volume