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McMeekin, Sean July 1914: Countdown to War ISBN 13: 9781848315938

July 1914: Countdown to War - Hardcover

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9781848315938: July 1914: Countdown to War
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The outbreak of the First World War was ‘a drama never surpassed’.

One hundred years later, the characters still seem larger than life: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, brooding heir to the Habsburg throne; the fanatical Bosnian Serb assassins who plot to murder him; Conrad and Berchtold, the Austrians who exploit the outrage; Kaiser Wilhelm and Bethmann Hollweg, backing up the Austrians; Sazonov, Russian Foreign Minister, trying to live down a reputation for cowardice; Poincaré and Paléologue, two French statesmen who urge on the Russians; and not least Winston Churchill, who, alone among Cabinet officials in London, perceives the seriousness of the situation in time to take action.

July 1914 tells the story of Europe’s countdown to war through the eyes of these men, between the bloody opening act on 28 June 1914 and Britain’s final plunge on 4 August, which turned a European conflict into a world war. The outbreak of war was no accident of fate. Individual statesmen, pursuing real objectives, conjured up the conflict – in some cases by conscious intention. While some sought honourably to defuse tensions, others all but oozed with malice as they rigged the decks for war.

Dramatic, inevitably tense and almost forensically observed, Sean McMeekin’s unique book retells the story of that cataclysmic month, making clear as never before who was responsible for the catastrophe. You will never think the same way again about the origins of the First World War.

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Review:
'A work of meticulous scholarship ... McMeekin's description of the details of life in the European capitals - small events that influenced great decisions - makes July 1914 irresistible.' Author: Roy Hattersley Source: Times

'A genuinely exciting, almost hour-by-hour account of the terrible month when Europe's diplomats danced their continent over the edge and into the abyss.' Author: Nigel Jones Source: BBC History Magazine

'Sean McMeekin's splendid July 1914 unravels all the shenanigans, bluffs and bunglings by which Europe's leaders and diplomats turned a minor murder in a Balkans backwater into total war ... There are scenes in July 1914 that linger long after the cover is closed.' Author: John Lewis-Stempel Source: Sunday Express

'McMeekin shows us precisely why the conflict happened ... [he] tells these stories with clarity and skill, drawing expert portraits of all the characters involved.' Author: Keith Lowe Source: Mail on Sunday

'Learned, punchy and enjoyable ... the book reads like a crime drama.' Author: Christopher Clark Source: London Review of Books

'A refreshingly original counterpoint to the traditional focus' Author: Bronwen Maddox Source: Prospect

'A shocking history, told with edgy, angry authority.' Author: Iain Finlayson Source: Saga Magazine

'Sean McMeekin, in July 1914, [offers a] new perspective ... McMeekin has chosen the zoom lens. He opens with a crisp but vivid reconstruction of the double murder in the sunshine of Sarajevo, then concentrates entirely on unraveling the choreography day by day.' Author: Harold Evans Source: New York Times Book Review

'[A] detailed account of the events and decisions that marked the road to war' Source: Times Higher Education

'[McMeekin] has ... literary and historical skill to make this a page-turning read.' Source: Literary Review
From the Publisher:
(This is the longer blurb - we are seeing if we can get a shorter one to appear on the AI without having to change the main blurb, because at the moment it goes onto two pages). In July 1914 award-winning historian Sean McMeekin tells the incredible story of Europe’s countdown to war, as seen through the eyes of the men who, even at the distance of a century, still seem larger than life. We meet the Archduke Ferdinand, brooding heir to the Habsburg throne and fanatical Bosnian Serb assassins who plot to murder him as well as Conrad and Berchtold, the Austrians who seek to exploit the outrage. Kaiser Wilhelm II and Bethmann Hollweg recklessly urged on the Austrians and Sergei Sazonov, Tsarist Russian Foreign Minister, was trying to live down a reputation for cowardice. Poincaré and Paléologue were two French statesmen who urge on the Russians and help Sazonov overcome his fears; and Winston Churchill, who, alone among Cabinet officials in London, perceives the seriousness of the situation in time to take action. It is not true that, as many popular historians have told us, ‘no one wanted the war.’ 1914 was no accident of fate. Individual statesmen, pursuing real objectives, conjured up the conflict – in some cases by conscious intention. While some sought honourably to defuse tensions, others all but oozed with malice as they rigged the decks for war. In this groundbreaking and powerful work of popular history Sean McMeekin makes clear as never before who was responsible for the catastrophe.

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  • PublisherIcon Books
  • Publication date2013
  • ISBN 10 1848315937
  • ISBN 13 9781848315938
  • BindingHardcover
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages560
  • Rating
    4.1 avg rating
    ( 1,135 ratings by Goodreads )

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