Mark's Reviews > Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War

Dreadnought by Robert K. Massie
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's review
Apr 22, 12

liked it
Read from February 22 to April 22, 2012

By Robert K. Massie
Publisher: Random House
Published In: New York, NY
Date: 1991
Pgs: 1007

This follows the lives and times of the movers and shakers in Britain and Germany in the lead up to World War One. The politicians and royals speeches and papers are used to give them voice as the shaping events move inexorably toward war. It begins with Trafalgar in 1805 and flows through the reign of Queen Victoria up to the declaration of war by the United Kingdom following the currents and foibles of the nations as they dance on the world stage.

history, europe, world war 1

Main Character:
Emperor William II of Germany, Winston Churchill, Admiral Jacky Fisher

Favorite Character:
Call it a toss up between Winston and Jacky

Least Favorite Character:
Admiral Lord Charles Beresford who seemed to be more interested in his personal power exhibited through his defense of the status quo in the British Navy which could have been disastrous. And William II who seemed to play the spoiled royal grandson of Queen Victoria who was going to get his way in Germany, come hell or high water. He got both.

Favorite Scene:
When Churchill debates Beresford on the floor of the House of Commons.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
I know it exceeds the focus of the book on Britain and Germany and the growth of their navies in the prewar years, but I would have liked a bit more focus on French, Austrian, Russian, and Italian politicians and royals in the same candid vein the British and German were visited.

Last Page Sound:
Can’t believe I’m finally finished. And...that’s it? It closes with the Germans making it clear that they are going to cross through Belgium and violate their neutrality to attack France. Both things that the British couldn’t allow. The books ends without a shot fired. But if it would have gone to that point where would the stopping point have been...the book already clocked in at 1007 pages. All around a good book.

Author Assessment:
Excellent. If something else of his crosses my view, I will strongly consider reading it.

Disposition of Book:
I’m going to offer it to Sarah and if she doesn’t want it, I’m going to put it on my Half Price Books stack.

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Reading Progress

03/02/2012 page 42
4.0% "I expected historical fiction. What I've gotten instead is more documentary."
03/26/2012 page 402
40.0% "Once you get passed the royals who are described in excruciating detail and get to the Admirals and Captains, this book picks up. I'm in the chapters covering the modernization of the British Navy prior to WW1 and the men who came up the ranks during that era who were more interested in training a navy to hit its targets with its guns than in paint, spit and polish."
04/16/2012 page 755
75.0% " last, Churchill."
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