10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a surprisingly concise, readable, and enlightening book. My wife is a middle school history teacher and has been looking for a resource like this her whole career. It is perfect for her students, not too dense to get bogged down, but amazingly educational. Now if the authors would take on every other big event in American history.
Most of us see World War I through the eyes of text book writers who condense the war into a few pages full of sound bites like the war started after Ferdinand is assassinated, the British and French suffered extreme casualties before the US entered the war, and US entered the war after the Lusitania is sunk. This book elegantly explains the web of alliances that drug what should have been a minor confrontation between Serbia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire into a world war. Likewise the book is balanced in showing the years of horrific fighting the English, French and Germans experienced before the US even entered the war. In fact the US involvement in the war only takes up about the last 10% of the book rather than the way textbooks make our sacrifices seem equal.
But the best thing about this book is how wonderfully written it is. It is a quick read that pulls you along. It does not bog down in statistics or names but rather keeps history alive by using a lot of first person reports and quotes while doing a great job of covering all aspects of the war. The analysis is fair and with no apparent bias (other than maybe pointing out that war, and especially this one, is horrific.) It tells the whole story, even leading into World War II and how basically it was an extension of the first world war.
I got an advanced reviewer copy so I am not sure how the quality of the final product will be, but the illustrations are great. It is definitely a book to pick up for anyone looking for a better understanding of the war. I really hope they continue this into a series for other wars and historic topics.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Scott T. Rivers
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Newbery Medal winner Russell Freedman offers a concise, humanistic overview of the Great War. Freedman's thoughtful text is augmented by stark photographs (particularly the depiction of trench life), an accessible layout and wide-ranging bibliography. Though intended for children, adult readers will find "The War to End All Wars" equally compelling.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Well written, engaging, and puts you right in the fetid trenches of warfare. But I can't imagine a book on World War I without a single reference to Atatürk. Worse, there is underhanded comments against the Turks without any respectable objectivity: "Historians say..." Where are the references? (For other aspiring authors: Please include your references from diametric perspectives to write history objectively, which should be the only way to write history.) If the author wanted to limit his perspective to the Western front I would have said this book is top-notch.
The author writes very well regarding the Western theater of World War I, but with an egregiously perfunctory attempt on the rest of the World that was involved. As if to say that World War I was really not a World War, but a European War. The real world war and the only one was World War II. In a way the author makes this case by saying that World War II was directly caused by World War I, and the two are parts of a whole conflict. The peace was not won, the author writes in the end. Completely neglecting to tell the reader how Atatürk had indeed done precisely that. Of all the numerous battles he fought hard and won, none was as meaningful as the peace he won for a new country in the aftermath of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Does the author mention this? No.
I'm giving this book all the stars to the West of the rating chart.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
We all know what World War II was about--even school kids still hear about Hitler, Hiroshima, and Anne Frank--but World War I doesn't have the huge place in popular culture these days that World War II occupies. Yes, we might remember that the war started with the assassination of an Austrian archduke, but what was it all really about?
In the opening chapter, Freedman lays out the critical events of June 28, 1914--the date the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the imperial throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated by a member of a Serbian terrorist group. Austria wanted to punish Serbia for this crime, and declared war on its neighbor. But in a series of events that "appeared to defy logic and common sense," before long, all of Europe is caught up in a war that, as Freedman explains succinctly, "few had expected and almost no one wanted...historians continue to debate the tangled and confusing causes of the conflict, the series of accidents, blunders, and misunderstandings that swept the nations of Europe toward war...whether war might have been avoided." Troops were quickly mobilized, and six million troops were soon on the move in Europe. Each country initially believed that troops would be home by Christmas, and Freedman documents the outbreak of national patriotism that erupted in all the combattant nations. Young men of all European countries ran to volunteer, and we see poignant photographs of fresh-faced young soldiers smiling as they leave for war. But the battles that ensued in August of 1914 brought a new kind of horror to warfare, leading to more than 100,000 deaths and several hundred thousand injured in just that brief period. But no one could have forseen that the war would drag on for four long years, fought in trenches on a Western front that would change little over the rest of the war and spreading to other countries throughout the world.
Besides talking about the war chronologically, Freedman discusses different themes, including the changing technology of warfare, life in the trenches, in-depth discussions of particularly important battles, a discussion of the war at sea, America's role in the war, and the aftermath of the conflict. Freedman enriches his narrative with plenty of moving first-hand descriptions from soldiers who fought in the war; these eye-witnesses hoped that by describing the horrors of war in all their terrible details they would help it from happening again. The abundant archival photographs and maps are critical to the emotional impact of this book (this title is available on audiobook, but without the photographs the listener would miss so much of the impact of this volume that I can't imagine choosing to experience this particular book that way). We see soldiers, both dead and alive, photographed in their trenches, wearing gas masks, washing their feet to help prevent infection, and burying their comrades, as well as photos of world leaders, civilians, and scenes of the devestated landscape.
Freedman emphasizes at the end of the book that it is impossible for us to really understand the massive human cost of this war; 65 million men fought in the conflict, with more than half becoming casualties (either killed, wounded, missing, or taken prisoner), not to mention the 10 million civilians estimated to have died of war-related famine or disease. What's more, entire towns were destroyed, farmland burned, and the European economy left in ruins.
The bitter irony of Freedman's title, The War to End all Wars, will not be lost on any of his readers, since despite the fervent hopes of those who fought in The Great War, another enormous conflict erupted less than a generation later. Russell ends his narrative with an ominous full-bleed, two-page photograph of Nazi soldiers in tanks waiting for the order to invade Poland, just 20 years after the Treaty of Versailles.
This outstanding book is clearly a must-have for all school and public libraries, and is likely to figure prominently during "award season." While this book could be used for school reports, it makes a riveting read for anyone interested in history. An interesting footnote: this book is dedicated to Freedman's father, who fought in France in WWI as a teenager.