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The First World War

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,748 ratings  ·  149 reviews
“This serious, compact survey of the war’s history stands out as the most well-informed, accessible work available.” ( Los Angeles Times )

Nearly a century has passed since the outbreak of World War I, yet as military historian Hew Strachan argues in this brilliant and authoritative new book, the legacy of the “war to end all wars” is with us still. The First Wor
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 5th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,748 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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With the centennial of the onset of World War 1 upon us, I sought and found in this 2004 book a good choice for a one-volume history of the whole shebang. It is highly compressed into 340 pages, but is not wanting for covering the war in its world-wide aspect. With such a scope, we lose out on in-depth character assessment of major figures, but there are too many of them anyway. What we get instead is an effective framework of interpretation for hanging a lot of the facts and factions and sites
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: تاریخی
دوستانِ گرانقدر، در این ریویو میخواهم چکیده ای از چگونگیِ شکل گیریِ جنگِ جهانیِ اول را برایتان بنویسم.. شاید برایِ بسیاری از دوستان این پرسش پیش آمده باشد که به راستی دلیلِ این جنگ و این همه کشتار چه بوده است! و جنگ از کجا و چگونه آغاز گشته است
جنگ جهانی اول، در سالِ 1914 آغاز شد و نزدیک به پنج سال به طول انجامید.. در جنگِ جهانیِ اول، 27 کشور در حالِ نبرد بودند و نزدیک به 16میلیون تن، در این نبردِ خونین جان باختند، که تلفاتِ روسیه، بیش از دیگر کشورها
I had seen the TV series that this book was based on and had to admit to myself that that was all I had to offer in terms of knowledge on the subject. So the book was going to be hopefully a more than useful beginner’s guide and it has turned out to be so. Each chapter was full of subject matter that made me realise I need to dig deeper into the Great War. The book itself covers mostly the political events and the major battles with the cultural events hardly covered. Fair enough I suppose. 330 ...more
Sean Chick
Aug 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I wish I could rate this higher for what it does right, in particular Strachan's emphasis on events outside of the western front. However, his detached and judgmental style is grating. He likes to poke holes in "misconceptions" with such glee that he often fails to explain why the accepted view is wrong. This also makes it a rather poor introduction to the war, for it often assumes ample prior knowledge. The most intriguing assertion is that the rejection of the First World War's "true" meaning ...more
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
An outstanding single-volume history and a remarkable feat of distillation and synthesis. When the 340 pages are finished, you're almost left feeling like it was too short.

Serious students of history will be a little annoyed at the light sourcing, particularly when it comes to Strachan's confident dismissals of the conventional wisdom. A few of the conclusions seem a little too trite and one or two observations even flatly ludicrous, as here: "given that the United States was itself a community
Hilmi Isa
Buku ini merupakan sebuah buku sejarah satu jilid (volume) mengenai Perang Dunia Pertama (1914 - 1918). Perang ini turut dikenali sebagai The Great War,yang bermula pada 28 Julai 1914 sehingga 11 November 1918. Walaupun bermula di benua Eropah dan memainkan peranan utama,skala peperangan melangkaui benua tersebut. Malah,peperangan ini turut melibatkan benua-benua yang lain seperti di Asia dan Afrika.

Saya berpandangan bahawa buku ini merupakan sebuah buku ilmiah yang baik untuk dibaca. Terutamany
J.M. Hushour
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
World War I is my favorite war: poison gas, flamethrowers, nun beating--everything I cherish in life came into use for the first time as a method of warfare and terror-inducing. The first mechanized war! The first clumsy, bomb-dropping airships! Moustaches! Trench mouth! And this is easily the best single volume history I've read of it
Tackling as broad a subject as World War I and confining it into one, readable volume might seem nigh impossible, but I'd say Strachan managed to pull it off here.
Katie Bayford
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
"There is a faraway moan that grows to a scream, then a roar like a train, followed by a ground-shaking smash and a diabolical red light... Everybody simply shakes and crawls... A hunching of the shoulders and then another comes, and the thought - How long, how long? There is nothing to do. Whether you get through or not is just sheer chance and nothing more."

- Hervey Allen

Hew Strachan is sniffy. He's sniffy towards fellow academics. He's sniffy towards the conduct of certain WW1 operations. He'
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, wwi
Strachan spent years researching and writing this book labeled Volume I: To Arms. I gave up at page 382 of 1139. I felt like I was interrupting the author and reading his notes over his shoulder. It seemed like every discussion by every office-bound was detailed; every turn of every unit of the multitude of armies was mentioned by commander and cardinal direction. You cannot even tell which country the units represent when in the Russian-German front the commanders of two groups on the same side ...more
Jeremiah Gumm
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Military History, World History, European History, American History
Recommended to Jeremiah by: Joe Gumm
An excellent and balanced summary of World War I
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent, but dense, book. While only 340 pages (far fewer than the average World War I history), it is so packed with information that I had to read slowly and often reread, just to get the gist of it. In fact, 130 or so pages in, I saw some handwritten notes I had made in the margins: I had read this book before, but hadn't realized it until that moment! Whether the cause is the density of the writing or my own faulty memory, who's to say?

But what I liked best about this book is th
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Catching up on some of my off and on reading. This book was available for Nook download not long ago at $5, so I opted to try.

I would say that along with John Keegan's The First World War, one of the better one volume histories of the war. The writing is clearly better than Keegan's. The narrative is more lively and in the moment.

Although I enjoyed the book, I still have not found a better book on World War 1 than Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory. For me, that book is the gold sta
Dvd (SuntLacrimaeRerum)
Tanto per cambiare, eccessivamente anglocentrico.

Certamente interessante, anche ben scritto, ma troppo orientato solo e soltanto sul fronte occidentale (senza dubbio il fronte più importante) o laddove hanno combattuto gli inglesi.

Scarsi (troppo, veramente troppo) i riferimenti al fronte italiano o a quello orientale.
Maggi LeDuc
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
An excellent, compelling summary of a long ans complex conflict. This book taught me a lot, especially about war outside the western front.
Dec 21, 2014 rated it liked it
It's basically a cliff's - notes of World War I. There is a lot of information and much of it is interesting, but the writing is so dry. It almost took me the same amount of time to read this as it did to read The Sleepwalkers and that book is almost twice as long. This book is okay, but the accompanying video series is much much better.

I also don't know if I agree with Strachan's assessment that the war in general, or the Treaty of Versailles in particular, didn't make the second world war ine
Shawn Robison
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
I finished this book on Armistice Day! How fitting. This book was chosen as the anchor for my class on WWI but I'm not sure that it's the best book to use when learning about the subject. To me it seemed to focus on vague specific topics in not so much of a chronological order. For a short history on WWI I felt like it should cover the basics a little better giving you an idea of the who's and what's in the order in which they happened.
Ryan Wulfsohn
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent one-volume history of WW1, comparable to Andrew Roberts' work on WW2. Highly recommended- especially for those unfamiliar with the subject.
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-1
Good read on the first wolrd war, good coverage of all the key generals.
I read The First World War by Hew Strachan mostly because it was recommended by the Army Chief of Staff.  I also realized that my knowledge of WWI is woefully inept considering I have a history degree.  I took a class on World War II and the US Civil War.  There are dozens of movies about WWII and the Civil War.  We joke about the days in which the History Channel showed only profiles of Hitler, as opposed to Ancient Aliens, as a sign of the times.  Outside of of the tales of Diana, Princess of ...more
Chris Wing
This book took me almost a year and a half to get through!
ALthough, I hasten to add, not because of it, because of my reading habits. Firstly, I'm not a natural non-fiction reader (I'm getting better) and put it off for fiction, but also, I've had a bit of an eventful time throughout.

I originally purchased it after realising, to my shame, that I got events from WWI and WWII crossed over and which commemorative services conrresponded to which war.
I also found the history of western civilisation
David Watson
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having read several books about World War I since the 100th anniversary of its outbreak in 1914, my immediate response to seeing this was 'why would I want to read another one'? But there was something about its conciseness that drew me to it - many other books on the war are very long. It wasn't just the conciseness of its 330 pages; a quick browse showed that Hew Strachan's writing style was also concise. But most of all, I was drawn in by his central thesis that characterisatiuons of World Wa ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Like many of the other readers who posted comments, I am impressed by Hew Strachan's mastery of so many of the intimate details of the War. I had little real background on World War I and wanted to learn much more. I was interested to see Mr Strachan refute the notion, which I've always heard, that the War caused a lost generation when in fact population recovered by mid 1920's (at Introduction on very first page). I also was interested to see Mr Strachan's explanation that defensive trench warf ...more
David Hallam
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good place to start reading about the First World, giving the reader an outline of the conflicting military and national interests that led up to the start of the war, the battle lines, the main battles and the consequences of the war for the landscape of Europe and the rest of the world for the rest of the 20th century.
It is hard to follow in places, Strachan spends half a chapter explaining why it made little military sense for Germany to launch attacks on the Western Front before going str
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Strachan does an excellent job in covering the war without going into too much detail in any one area: politics, military strategy, individual battles, and so on. I was surprised to learn how much of WWI took place in other parts of the world and involved so many people from nations outside Europe and the US—I've always envisioned the British, French, and Germans in trenches in France, which is such a limited view of the scope of this war. Strachan also conveys the sense of futility of WWI and t ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it liked it
As other reviews have noted this book does have a "Well, actually..." tone that assumes some prior knowledge of WWI. That didn't bother me too much and I mostly enjoyed the rebuttals to conventional wisdom that were presented.

Great photos but I really wish this book had included some additional maps instead of the very general ones at the beginning of the book. Especially when it came to naval battles I found the long descriptions of which ship/unit was on which flank very difficult to follow a
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book somehow manages to be sweeping in scope while compact in delivery. Besides being a dense, yet accessible, recitation of the facts, the author also manages to reach some insightful points about the conflict that sound like they could have been taken from present day strategic analyses. To some extent, that (unfortunately) may speak to the applicability of that war’s dynamics to the present day. But it also speaks to the author’s ability to find that which is salient and timeless in the ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Good book with lots of depth on the behind the scenes of he war. This is not a book about the battles. Which is just what I was looking for. If any criticism can be made, it reads more like a text book than a novel. Again, not bad. This is a history book after all. If your looking for a history of World War One, behind the scenes, and not about battles, tactics, strategies, then this is the book for you.
Stanley Turner
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Strachan has written a nice compact history of the First World War. I have read better works, but then again I have read some works that couldn’t hold a candle to this work. Strachan does nice work that covers all fronts of the War to end all Wars. I recommend this work for all interested in the First World War or for some The Great War...
Sean Edwards
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent book that covers all theatres of the war in good depth. I found that some of the content can get kind of dry, but there is still plenty to learn if you want a good overview of World War 1.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
For someone who loves detail concerning artillery this is the book for you! Seriously, I learned more about the governing bodies and their interaction with multiple parts of the world than from any history studied in school or university.
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Hew Strachan was born and brought up in Edinburgh, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 2003 and awarded an Hon. D.Univ., (Paisley) 2005. He is also Life Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he was successively Research Fellow, Admissions Tutor and Senior Tutor, 1975-92. From 1992 to 2001 he was Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow, and from ...more