An Illustrated History the First World War

KEEGAN, John

Published by New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. 1st US edition
ISBN 10: 037541259X / ISBN 13: 9780375412592
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Hardcover, 4to., very good condition in like dustjacket, illus endpages, maps, colour and black & white photographs throughout, bibliography, index, 445pp. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: John Keegan's The First World War was everywhere praised, and became the definitive account of the war that created the modern world. The New York Times Book Review acclaimed Keegan as "the best military historian of our day," and the Washington Post called the book "a grand narrative history [and] a pleasure to read."

Now Keegan gives us a lavishly illustrated history of the war, brilliantly interweaving his narrative--some of it derived from his classic work and some of it new--with a brilliant selection of photograps, paintings, cartoons and posters drawn from archives across Europe and America, some published here for the first time. These images take us into the heart of battles that have become legend: Ypres, Gallipoli, Verdun, the Somme. They show us the generals' war and the privates' war--young soldiers, away from home for the first time, coming of age under fire.

We see how a civilization at the height of its power and influence crippled itself as the faith in progress, rationalism and liberalism that had prevailed in Europe since the Enlightenment was shattered. We see how four empires--the German, the Russian, the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman--collapsed, and how the seeds for the Second World War were planted. Keegan tells how ambition, mistrust and failures of diplomacy and communication all played a part in allowing this conflict to set ablaze what was then the world's most prosperous society. And he describes how the effects of this war lasted long after it ended; its ghosts still haunt Europe today.

An Illustrated History of the First World War carries us across the Europe of nearly a century ago, revealing the devastation, camaraderie, political machinations and battlefield maneuverings that changed the world. It presents the essential cast of that cataclysmic drama, from the decision makers at the top--Haig, Joffre, Hindenberg, Pershing--to the troops in the trenches. Through its unique amalgam of pictorial and narrative brilliance, the book illuminates the war as no other work has done.

Review: Matching nearly 500 photographs, maps, and prints to a thoughtful, interpretive text, renowned military historian John Keegan again turns his attention to "the war to end all wars."

The outbreak of World War I, Keegan notes, caught many Europeans and Americans by surprise. "Europe in the summer of 1914," he writes, "enjoyed a peaceful productivity so dependent on international co-operation that a belief in the impossibility of general war seemed the most conventional of wisdoms." That wisdom was quickly shattered with the onset of hostilities in the Balkans, which soon swept the continent and the world. Keegan takes a large view of events (the massive, multimillion-man offensives along the fronts, for instance) while recalling the agonies (and occasional triumphs) of countless individuals on both sides of the conflict. As he writes, Keegan offers a number of correctives (against other historians, for instance, he asserts that German forces indeed committed atrocities in Belgium), and he catalogs the blunders and disorders that cost each side needlessly and dearly.

No contemporary historian is better equipped than Keegan for his subject, and this book merits a place on the shelf of every student of modern history. -- Gregory McNamee

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Title: An Illustrated History the First World War
Publisher: New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. 1st US edition

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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. Oversized Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. This large format edition has been carefully abridged and reshaped by its author to give an illustrative treatment both of the military, political and historical issues of the war, and of the experience of fighting it throughout the world on land, at sea, and in the air. Color/b&w illustrations and photographs. Bibliography, Index. 435p. Bookseller Inventory # 1316900

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