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The Origins of the First World War (Origins of Modern Wars)

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  161 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
James Joll's study is not simply another narrative, retracing the powder trail that was finally ignited at Sarajevo. It is an ambitious and wide-ranging analysis of the historical forces at work in the Europe of 1914, and the very different ways in which historians have subsequently attempted to understand them. The importance of the theme, the breadth and sympathy of Jame ...more
Paperback, 346 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Longman Publishing Group (first published September 10th 1984)
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AC
Oct 26, 2008 AC rated it it was amazing
Fabulous -- a short and penetrating study of the origins of WWI. Highly recommended
Corey
Sep 30, 2015 Corey rated it it was amazing
The best book on the causes of World War One that I've read. I perviously most liked Keegan's one volume account of the war, but this book only examines the causes. So basically, Joll allows for the impact of individual leaders and their decisions. However, he ably demonstrates how those freely made decisions were constrained by the constructs of that time period. Each of the following factors gets its own chapter: alliances and traditions of the old diplomacy, militarism and the arms race, dome ...more
Jonathan
Aug 17, 2014 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, world-war-1
A concise yet in-depth examination of why Europe went to war in August 1914. The authors cleverly tell the tale as a series of "concentric circles" of the war's approach: the July Crisis diplomacy, the military and naval factors, the influence of the domestic politics of the various countries involved, how the economic conditions of Europe contributed (or didn't) to the breakout of war, the effect of imperial rivalries and finally, the "mood" and cultural assumptions of the peoples and leaders o ...more
Ida Hagen
Feb 11, 2014 Ida Hagen rated it liked it
Shelves: curriculum
A little heavy, but it is in the end a good book that enlighten a lot of the different sides and decisions that lead to the first world war.
It would have been better with more paragraphs. The writer also have a tendency to repeat himself, but I suppose that makes it stick :p
Bennett
Jan 16, 2014 Bennett rated it it was amazing
If you're a student of history, specifically of the first world war, you simply must read this book. Joll and Martel examine the origins of the first world war (both the conventional explanations and the more conspiratorially minded ones) from all angles possible. It's exhaustive but still easy-enough to get through provided you're at a decent reading level. Though let's be honest, if you're on Good Reads you're probably advanced enough to be reading this.
Anthony Zupancic
Dec 14, 2014 Anthony Zupancic rated it it was amazing
Prime introduction to the historiography of the origins of the first world war. Each chapter considers an existing thesis.
Danny
Nov 24, 2007 Danny rated it really liked it
Excellent analysis of the origins of WWI. Joll (and Martel, who revised Joll's work for this edition) starts with the July crisis and moves outwards in concentric circles to examine the various factors (economics, previous crises, domestic conflict, etc.) that created the conditions in which the decisions to go to war in 1914 were made. Some of the most significant details get lost in the thicket, but this is the place to start.
Lizixer
Mar 03, 2012 Lizixer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-finished
An essential read for the serious student of the Great War and pre-1914 European history. It examines in great detail, the various angles by which historians seek to explain what lit the fuse that led to the first World War. There are no easy answers but Joll helps the reader to come to a deeper understanding of a largely misunderstood war.
Adrian
The writing is a little clunky, but the information is good and well-structured, diving into the details and then offering a broad overview to provide clarity on the issues. Also comes with a great resource of important documents that played key roles in the half-century leading up to the Great War.
James Geddes
Oct 21, 2013 James Geddes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
James Joll takes on the complexity of historical forces at work in Europe in 1914 and does an admirable job. Joll brings a clarity and sympathy to his writing that helps the reader gain some kind of grasp of WWI- a war of unspeakable carnage and horror.
Gail Hoskins
Full of information, but not an easy read. Someone with a better background in WWI would probably find it more interesting.
Denise Mcdougall
Excellent treatment of the myriad causes of WWI.
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