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To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  4,242 Ratings  ·  273 Reviews
Jeff Shaara has enthralled readers with his New York Times bestselling novels set during the Civil War and the American Revolution. Now the acclaimed author turns to World War I, bringing to life the sweeping, emotional story of the war that devastated a generation and established America as a world power.
Spring 1916: the horror of a stalemate on Europe’s western front. Fr
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Hardcover, 636 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Zee Ashworth
Apr 23, 2008 Zee Ashworth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction buffs
The disclaimer should read "sucker for historical fiction." I found this book to be packed with historical detail, but not historically overwhelming. This is a book about the men who fought the "war to end all wars" -- from both sides of the trenches. Have you always wanted to know about the Red Baron (and wonder why Snoopy has a fixation)? Have you wondered about Pershing? (probably not... who remembers these days?) The Sopwith Camel? the fly-boys of the Lafayette Escadrille? Here are riveting ...more
Alex
Sep 23, 2008 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure many Gods and Generals fans will disagree with me, but I truly believe this to be Jeff Shaara's finest novel to date. Although the first two thirds can be more on the educational side with less action, the fact that he spent any time at all on early aviation is extraordinary. As my dad was a pilot, I find the incredible achievements of the Red Baron awe-inspiring, for such primitive planes. The first American combat pilots were required to use machine guns placed on the roof so as not t ...more
Rick Boyer
Nov 11, 2014 Rick Boyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My goal in reading this book, was to gain a bit more of a general understanding of WW I. I want to study this war in more detail, because my knowledge and understanding of it is very limited. I like Shaara, and I figured that this would be a good place to start. And it was. Beautifully written in the style that Shaara uses so well: history written like a novel/a novel written like history.

The book doesn't cover the whole war, just the main conflict on the Western Front between Germany and France
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Josh
Feb 20, 2010 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like historical fiction, Shaara is the man. Pershing, the Red Baron, and a host of other historical figures are depicted. I really enjoyed this one.

"The numbers tell the tale. In four years of the most brutal combat the world has ever seen, nearly ten million men die on the battlefield or in the hospitals nearby. The cost in human life can be translated to the loss of more than five thousand men every day the war was fought. Thus an entire generation of young men is erased from the futu
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Brendan Hodge
May 14, 2015 Brendan Hodge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shaara has made his name writing well researched novels dealing with America's military history, starting with his prequel and sequels to his father's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Killer Angels. In To The Last Man, Shaara turns his attention to World War One. He has four main characters: American Raoul Lufbery who volunteered to fly planes with the French air service before American came into the war; German pilot Manfred von Richthofen better known as the Red Baron; General John Pershing, who led ...more
Kate
Jan 16, 2016 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeff Shaara has done it again, bringing the intensity of war to a immediacy that gives the reader the sense that they are right there: in the trenches, marching to the assaults on German lines or in the air battles over allied or enemy territory. This is achieved by narrowing the cast of characters to a few commanders and a few Marines or Airman whose stories he crafts extremely well.
He also covers the politics of war and the general inability of those who sit in the seats of power to grasp the
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Anthony
I read this book in the Kindle format and discovered that I could actually expand the charts laying out the battle positions, something that was heretofore frustrating to me.

This was a book well written and documented. It is about the struggles of the US involvement in the "Great War". It was gritty and captivating with well developed characters and a very strict adherence to historical facts. Jeff Shaara is an author of our times but he has a head and a heart for history. he uses these talents
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Greg Pettit
I enjoy historical fiction and I've always been fascinated by the first World War, so I thought this book was tailor-made for me. Unfortunately, it came across as a little too dense and not as engrossing as it should have been.

The author follows the careers of several real-life personalities through the course of the war to describe different aspects of it: Richtofen (the Red Baron) and Lufbery (of the Lafayette Escadrille) to portray the air war; Ludendorf and Pershing provide details of the Ge
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Dan M.
Jan 17, 2012 Dan M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To The Last Man is a novel written by Jeff Shaara and published in 2004 by Random House Publishing Incorporated. It is a story of four fighters and their experiences in World War I. This book starts off as a slow read because it is not very interesting and the reader doesn’t “know” the characters yet. As the book progresses, the characters become more relatable because of the adventures that they go on and bravery that they demonstrate. Shaara uses exquisite imagery to make the reader feel like ...more
Stuart Lutzenhiser
World War I was a war of "too much". Too many people died for too few reasons from too many countries. Why the author would want to add to this by writing a book trying to cover too much ground is beyond me. He does try to focus on a few people, much like in the Civil War novels. However, instead of just one battle (Gettysburg) or one campaign in the war, he spreads his novel over almost the entire breadth of the war - which leaves the book long and disjointed. The Kindle version that I read als ...more
Jason
May 13, 2011 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History/War buffs
Shaara takes his father's formula from The Killer Angels (the same formula he's followed throughout his writing career) and tells the story of World War I from the points of view of its major players: The Red Baron, Pershing, the common foot soldier in the trenches, the American pilots who volunteered to fight in the French air force. It's dense, and not everyone will appreciate the minute attention to detail Shaara observes, but this is the book where he seems to have found his own unique voice ...more
travelgirlut
Nov 25, 2012 travelgirlut rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwi
I don't know too much about WWI, so this was a pretty decent introduction. However, be aware that this mainly deals with Americans in the war, so you miss a lot of what went on in the first 4 years before the U.S. officially joined the fighting.

There were a few things I didn't like about this book. I found the author's way of writing in short choppy connected phrases to be extremely distracting. All of the main characters had the same kind of idealistic inner voice. It was all a bit overly emoti
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Eric Taylor
Jul 23, 2015 Eric Taylor rated it really liked it
An eye-opening historical fiction of the amount of several soldiers from both sides of the war.
Brian
Feb 01, 2016 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I most appreciate about Jeff Shaara is the organization and alternating point of view that he uses in all of his novels. It allows the reader different perspectives, and allows the author to cover more ground with the ability to "location hop" with ease. When one is writing about war, this is a handy tool to have at one's disposal. When you are as uneven a writer as Mr. Shaara, it is a necessary one.
"To The Last Man" starts off with an engrossing chapter depicting a new English
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Miguel Bohrer
Mar 02, 2014 Miguel Bohrer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author's purpose in this book is to show the reader an acount of four men who lived and fought in the first World War. The book is mainly in the point of view of four different men who were in the same war, but they saw the war differently. In this World War novel, you are in the minds/bodies of these men hearing their words and experiencing the war through their eyes. The author stated in the beginning of the book that the accounts of the events in these four men's lives are as close/accur ...more
Trina
Plods along like a history of WWI. For that, you're better off with Guns of August.
Jeremy Mcafee
Feb 05, 2015 Jeremy Mcafee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you enjoy a book packed with action that will spark your interest in the First World War.? If you do then "To The Last Man" by Jeff Sharra is the book for you. Shaara wrote this book to entertain. The book is historical fiction. Historical fiction is a made up story that has many true facts are intertwined in to the story. "To The Last Man" was written in the form of a narration. Sharra was effective in writhing in the form of narration because the book goes through the events of World war on ...more
Ralph Wark
The Human Side Of War

I enjoy historical affliction, and few more than this this book. it is.long, detailed, and abandons the "this unit then marched here and fought that unit" school of history, it tells people's stories, how subtracted to the war and how it affected them. There are historical figures aplenty, Richtofen, Pershing, Foch, but Shaara is at his best with those history has forgotten. Raul Lufbery, leader of the Lafayette Escadrille, is treated at length, his career and legacy, includ
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Marilyn
Oct 25, 2014 Marilyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2014, wwi
For someone who knows little if nothing about World War I, this was a real eyeopener. It was, as our history books tell us, a really terrible war. Shaara includes real people who actually lived at the time although he labels his stories as historical fiction because no one could could actually know what someone was thinking or feeling as the action is taking place. His research is usually spot on; however, I do have one serious gripe. He refers to Billy Mitchell as an "old man" when he joins the ...more
Calvin M
Nov 16, 2015 Calvin M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The only bad part of any Jeff Shara boom is that it has to end. The writer brings the biggest events in American history alive & filled with the voices of those that were actually there. His research is exhaustive, taking a lot of conversations from personal journals, letters, family stories, etc; this research gives the characters voices a reality that never existed prior to Shaara efforts.
If you enjoy historical fiction, actual events with dialogue taken from sources I spoke of above, th
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Keith
Aug 19, 2015 Keith rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Military Buffs, Soldiers
As usual, Shaara does not disappoint and weaves a masterful tale of World War I. He follows the lives of Generals and Soldiers; Germans and Americans; airmen, Infantry, and Marines. The tale begins well before the US entered the war gives a clear perspective of the hopelessness of the French and British position as well as an idea of the American sentiment both for and against the war. It then progresses through the struggles to build and deploy a military force in time enough to make an impact ...more
David Thompson
Mar 02, 2014 David Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid four out of five stars for the definitive WW1 historical fiction.

At just under 800 pages, I knew this would take some time and dedication to get through. As a professional Soldier, the last few months of World War I are my favorite as it is a great example of aligning tactical actions to attain strategic objectives. Knowing the book was arranged chronologically, it would be a while before I got to the parts I looked forward to.

So, how do I rate the book? I think four out of five stars i
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Karthik M
Sep 10, 2015 Karthik M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We are quite often moved & touched by the books we read.
But rarely it is that we are tempered to such an extent by a book, that we feel the same as the characters in them.

The author has managed to show the surprise of the soldiers when they confront a few weapons for the first time, such as aeroplanes, tanks, etc. The surprise hits us too, even if we read the pages today.

But as the book goes on, the weapons are shown as yet another fine killling machine, bring new dimensions to already exist
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Jessica
Apr 08, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: military history buffs
Jeff Shaara's popular Civil War novels have been on my 'to-read' list for quite some time, so when I saw this WWI novel on my local library's "Librarian's Choice" shelf, I impulsively checked it out. I'm not much into military history--when it comes to war, I prefer reading about the home front and social change--but I do occasionally enjoy a good front-line novel.

To The Last Man did not disappoint. I was impressed by the depth of research, the amazing detail, and the evocative writing that mad
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Flipsofast
As usual I liked the writing style of Jeff Shaara, It makes the characters come alive and easy to identify with. However "To the Last Man" doesn't obtain the level of the WWII saga it feels like it is made up of to different parts; the first about the fighting in the air, the second about the American troops in France. Connection between the two parts is very limited and disappears completely towards the end of the book. Though in the first part the war is seen from both allied and Axis sides th ...more
Amy Beasley
Oct 31, 2014 Amy Beasley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engrossing novel of the First World War, telling the story through the eyes of several characters on both sides of the conflict. I learned about the "Red Baron" flying ace, Captain Richthofen, and about the challenges General Pershing faced preparing and placing our U.S. forces into the European theatre. I would have liked to see more or better maps, since the text often referred to places I was not personally familiar with, and those places were not necessarily on the minimal maps in the book. ...more
Bob
Oct 01, 2014 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
A good book, but not what I was expecting, although I admit I don't know exactly what I was expecting. I loved Jeff Shaara's Civil War books, but I didn't enjoy this as much. It's focused pretty much solely on the American perspective of the World War I, so you've got kind of a limited viewpoint there. Except that he randomly threw in the Red Baron as one of his perspective characters, which is a totally different look, and feels jarring. Also, 2 of his 4 main viewpoint characters are pilots, wh ...more
Debbie Yacenda
Jul 15, 2015 Debbie Yacenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
World War 1 should have been the war to end all wars. It introduced the machine gun, lethal gas, flamethrowers, grenades, armed aircraft and other horrors. No one thought the world could stomach another war after The Great War.

Jeff Shaara excellently draws you into its history along with the persona of some of the war's well and least known figures. Richthofen (The Red Baron credited with a record 80 downed planes), Lufbery (rival of the Baron and Rickenbacker's mentor), Pershing (hated the armi
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Chris
Dec 28, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best World War I book I've read in a good long time...
Quinndara
Jun 21, 2016 Quinndara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written novel that features the men whose efforts made history: from General Pershing to the marines in the trenches, from the Red Baron to the American pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille, the author gives a vivid an accurate account of America's contribution to WWI. I especially liked the reader, Philip Bosco, whose voice and reading was a perfect accompaniment to the actions of the story. Yes. I listened to the audiobook and, at the end, to my disappointment, found that it was an abridged ...more
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Jeff Shaara, a descendant of Italian immigrants, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey ("Shaara" was originally spelled "Sciarra"). He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Criminology. From age 16, Jeff operated a rare coin business, first out of his home, then in a retail store. After moving to Tampa, Jeff became one of the most widely know ...more
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