Betty's Reviews > To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild
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's review
Apr 03, 12

bookshelves: history-and-social-science, top-favorites
Read from April 01 to 03, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Once in a while I read a book that seems to open up a whole new space in my intellectual landscape. This was one of those. I've tried reading books about WWI before, but I always bog down in the political complexities and the lists of battles and statistics. This book looks at the war from the viewpoint of how it was for England. It puts the war into a larger social perspective -- the suffragist movement, demands for Irish and Indian self-rule, and socialism -- which, perhaps paradoxically, makes the book easier to follow rather than more complicated. Hochschild introduces a number of figures -- generals, politicians, left-wing reformers, conscientious objectors, soldiers, from Bertrand Russell and Lloyd George to lesser-known writers and activists whose individual wartime activities and experiences help to illuminate the larger picture. The result is a very *human* account of the war. At the end, I felt as if I'd gained a whole new perspective on the entire 20th century.

I loved Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost;" and after reading "To End All Wars," I think I want to read everything this guy ever writes!

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