1914: The Year The World Ended Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Few years can justly be said to have transformed the earth: 1914 did.
In July that year, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Britain and France were poised to plunge the world into a war that would kill or wound 37 million people, tear down the fabric of society, uproot ancient political systems and set the course for the bloodiest century in human history.
In the longer run, the events of 1914 set the world on the path toward the Russian Revolution, the Treaty of Versailles, the rise of Nazism and the Cold War.
In 1914: The Year the World Ended, award-winning historian Paul Ham tells the story of the outbreak of the Great War from German, British, French, Austria-Hungarian, Russian and Serbian perspectives. Along the way, he debunks several stubborn myths.
European leaders, for example, did not stumble or ‘sleepwalk' into war, as many suppose. They fully understood that a small conflict in the Balkans - the tinderbox at the heart of the continent - could spark a European war. They well knew what their weapons could do. Yet they carried on. They accepted - and, in some cases, even seemed to relish - what they saw as an inevitable clash of arms. They planned and mapped every station on the path to oblivion. These pied pipers of the apocalypse chose war in the full knowledge that millions would follow, and die, on their orders.
1914: The Year the World Ended seeks to answer the most vexing question of the 20th century: Why did European governments decide to condemn the best part of a generation of young men to the trenches and four years of slaughter, during which 8.5 million would die?
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|Listening Length||22 hours and 49 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||01 November 2013|
|Publisher||Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 41,148 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
163 in World War I History (Books)
424 in United States History (Audible Books & Originals)
485 in 20th Century U.S. History
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Top reviews from Australia
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The maps referenced in the text are absent from the book.....this. is a significant omission.
Top reviews from other countries
The book goes into great background detail which I personally didn't need but it ties up loose ends and is good background for those unfamiliar with the history of the Balkans. It builds very well into the last few months of peace and gives good portraits of the protagonists such as Grey, the Kaiser, Bethmann Hollweg, the Tsar. It needs to be read in conjunction with Barbara Tuchman's "The Guns of August" and Taylor's "War by Timetable."
His biblography and referencing are extensive but I am surprised that though he refers to Robin Neilland's "The Death of Glory" he omits his "The Great War Generals." Were he to have read and appreciated the latter he may have taken a different tack in his criticism of the British performance in 1914. Early in the book he refers to the Britrish Army as a farce and then goes on in the latter part of the book to agree that the "Old Contemptibles" were anything but and in thre or four months fought the greatest army in the world to a standstill. He would be advised to stick to political history and leave military history to the experts.
It was amazing to learn there was no real reason the war began, more to do with personalities of people in power, the strong and the weak. Not necessarily the Royals but the politicians and diplomats in power and the military commanders. The race for world power in the colonial era also contributed. A series of missed opportunities to avert war, egos, pride and stupidity.
Over 3 million killed in a period of 4 years. Staggering. It became impossible to stop. The build up to the war and reasons were totally different and far broader than the assassination of the Arch Duke in Serbia, that was so minor and just a convenient excuse.
Paul Ham is such a brilliant historian. It was all so readable, not bogged down in stats and numbers. He put a very humane face to the facts.
Not the type of book many would read but it was so mentally stimulating and just so interesting.
Far too many histories of WW1 focus on the battles and do not look, in any depth, at the causes. Ham's writing is vastly superior to most historians and his assessment of other histories is balanced and well argued.