by Martin Gilbert
This very long work is essentially a chronology of the war, from the
rapid escalation of tension before August 1914 to the problems of
armistice in 1918 and how they affected state relations in the 1930s.
Gilbert, the official biographer of Churchill, brings home at many
points the reality of the 9 million military dead of WWI through use of
poems, quotes and letters written home by the men who died, as well as
graphic recollections by nurses who served at the front (one image that
stays with me is the room full of amputated limbs).
fascinating reading and broad in scope, but it does have its problems.
First, the endless litany style does grate after a while. Second,
Gilbert is intensely pro-Anglo-American. Thus he ignores all the
fighting out of Europe, and while he mentions Japan once, fails to dwell
on why Japan entered the war, how her people felt about it, what her
success or losses were, etc. Thus, too, he dwells on German
“atrocities” during the war but mentions several instances which make it
quite clear that barbarism and selfishness were aspects of both sides.
Finally, while arguing that superior Allied force was the deciding
factor in the German capitulation, he fails to convince that internal
revolution played a small part. Despite these flaws, an impressive and