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Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/22/2019 4:17:18 PM   
DonCzirr


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Any suggestions on a book with most / all of these properties ?

- WWI (whole war and all fronts)

- Covering the Military Strategic Perspective - less emphasis on individual battle analysis and more about how the battles

impacted the armies and the fronts overall.

- Battle maps that showed how developments / battles moved the front lines

- Not focused on individual soldier stories / civilian impact


Reading this to myself, it sounds like a heavily annotated battle atlas may do the trick.

I would appreciate to hear from my fellow Grogs however before just Amazon surfing ....

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/22/2019 4:50:49 PM   
altipueri

 

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Liddell Hart's History of the First World War
AJP Taylor The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918 as background.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/22/2019 4:58:20 PM   
VPaulus

 

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The First World War One - John Keegan
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8914.The_First_World_War

1914-1918: The History of the First World War - David Stevenson
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1511444.1914_1918

The First World War - Hew Strachan
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/96404.The_First_World_War

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/22/2019 5:00:27 PM   
VPaulus

 

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I also endorse AJP Taylor's The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918.
I suggest you to read this before reading any WWI book.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/22/2019 5:02:29 PM   
Aurelian

 

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https://www.amazon.com/Cataclysm-First-World-Political-Tragedy-ebook/dp/B009W6VNIG/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1550858520&sr=1-3&keywords=cataclysm+the+first+world+war+as+political+tragedy

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/22/2019 6:22:58 PM   
Randomizer

 

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I would endorse Cataclysm, possibly the most insightful single volume history of the war and add:

A World Undone: the Story of the Great War 1914-1918 by G.J. Meyer and;

The Pity of War: Explaining World War One by Niall Ferguson.

Like some here I grew up with Keegan, Taylor, Liddell Hart and Tuchman et al but now find them incomplete and lacking balance given the vast amounts of documentation and accounts from France, Italy, Russia and Germany that has become available since they were published.

-C

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/22/2019 9:44:09 PM   
VPaulus

 

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Keegan wrote his WWI volume in 2000 so I don't think it's very incomplete, but I admit that he doesn't bring anything new to the theme, at least when compared with Niall Ferguson.
But to start reading about WWI with Ferguson, IMHO, it's not a good idea.
I've never read Cataclysm, but now I'm really curious as I've enjoyed reading Stevenson's previous work.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/22/2019 10:26:48 PM   
Randomizer

 

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I agree that Keegan's The First World War brings nothing new to the table and the incisive analysis that one often finds in his works is almost entirely absent. Perusing the Notes section it's easy to see why as there is an almost total lack of references that are not the British Public Records Office, Edmunds, Terraine, Horne, Cruttwell, Mackasey, Spears, Stone and C. Falls etc. Given that all are exclusively British sources it should be no surprise that this volume is merely a rehash of older works and the limited use of sources from other nations is perplexing. It's almost as if he got some acolytes to ghost write the book because he needed the cash or something. Certainly not up to Face of Battle quality. That said, he is one of the few mainstream British Great War historians to make use of Gerhard Ritter's The Schlieffen Plan: Critique of a Myth.

I do not know how I neglected to include The Great War 1914-18 by Peter Hart but as a one volume general history it's quite complete. Anything WW1 related by Peter Hart is a good read.

-C

< Message edited by Randomizer -- 2/22/2019 10:27:26 PM >

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/23/2019 12:15:30 AM   
VPaulus

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Randomizer
Certainly not up to Face of Battle quality.


Couldn't agree more. Still, I think as an introduction to the theme, it's a good read.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Randomizer
I do not know how I neglected to include The Great War 1914-18 by Peter Hart but as a one volume general history it's quite complete. Anything WW1 related by Peter Hart is a good read.


I haven't read his one volume account of the war, but if it's like all his other books that I've read, it's filled with individual accounts, which DonCzirr would like to avoid.


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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/23/2019 1:13:34 AM   
DonCzirr


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quote:

ORIGINAL: VPaulus


quote:

ORIGINAL: Randomizer
I do not know how I neglected to include The Great War 1914-18 by Peter Hart but as a one volume general history it's quite complete. Anything WW1 related by Peter Hart is a good read.


I haven't read his one volume account of the war, but if it's like all his other books that I've read, it's filled with individual accounts, which DonCzirr would like to avoid.




True - not because I don't think such things are important and interesting but in this particular case I am trying to get a macro view of the flow of the fronts over time as I am playing a few

different strategic WWI games atm and want to compare the "feel" and "flow" of those games to the historical "big picture"/


Thanks to all for the really great input so far.

The 1848 - 1918 reference made me chuckle a little bit when I saw it - as I came across a BBC TV series of the same stated period today "Fall of Eagles" that features Patrick Stewart as Lenin.

It seems a little dated (free on Youtube) but I simply must see Stewart "engage" as a Bolshevik


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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/23/2019 8:16:35 PM   
RFalvo69


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One problem I generally found in foreign WWI books is the total absence of the Italian front. I can buy a book from an Italian historian and then "combine" the timelines in my mind - but it would be interesting to read an in-depth perspective by British, French and/or American scholars every then and now.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/23/2019 11:06:36 PM   
AndySfromVA

 

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The British had little interest in what was going on with the Italians. Its main conflict was with Germany, although it had longstanding issues with its allies France and Russia as well. Italy's main adversary was Austria Hungary - they were longtime adversaries. Russia and Germany hated each other and Russia and the Ottoman Empire were at odds as well. WWI was the culmination of multiple conflicts that had gone on throughout the 19th century.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/24/2019 1:17:46 AM   
Capt. Harlock


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"The World Crisis", by Winston Churchill
(the good news is, you only need Volumes 1 - 3)

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/24/2019 3:04:34 AM   
nicwb

 

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quote:

The First World War - Hew Strachan
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/96404.The_First_World_War


Strachan's book is good but its only a synopsis of a planned larger work. So far he's only published the first volume of the larger work.

quote:

One problem I generally found in foreign WWI books is the total absence of the Italian front. I can buy a book from an Italian historian and then "combine" the timelines in my mind - but it would be interesting to read an in-depth perspective by British, French and/or American scholars every then and now.


Agreed - I suspect Western historians also have a tendency to skate over the war on the Eastern Front (apart from Tannenburg). I think the problem is mostly a barrier of language. All the best first hand source would be in German, Italian and Russian. Any historian would need to be fluent in those to give anything more than a generalised account.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/24/2019 8:34:05 PM   
Randomizer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: RFalvo69
One problem I generally found in foreign WWI books is the total absence of the Italian front. I can buy a book from an Italian historian and then "combine" the timelines in my mind - but it would be interesting to read an in-depth perspective by British, French and/or American scholars every then and now.

From 2010, The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919. Goes into great detail on the politics behind Italy joining the Allies and D'Annunzio's Irredentist movement. Presumably the author is fluent in Italian since the bibliography is primarily Italian sources.

quote:

"The World Crisis", by Winston Churchill

When first published one of Churchill's cabinet colleagues told the PM (then David Lloyd George) "Winston's written some big book about how he won the War and he's calling it The World Crisis". The brilliance of the prose hides the many glaring errors of commission and omission. Use with caution.

-C

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/24/2019 9:27:16 PM   
ringoblood


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quote:

ORIGINAL: VPaulus

Keegan wrote his WWI volume in 2000 so I don't think it's very incomplete, but I admit that he doesn't bring anything new to the theme, at least when compared with Niall Ferguson.
But to start reading about WWI with Ferguson, IMHO, it's not a good idea.
I've never read Cataclysm, but now I'm really curious as I've enjoyed reading Stevenson's previous work.

I agree, Stevenson's work is great but as you stated VPaulus, I too am now curious to read Cataclysm.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/24/2019 9:39:04 PM   
demyansk


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Funny, after reading the first few posts went to the library and took out Hew Strachan's book. Whoa, the thing is heavier than a 5 lb weight!!

Also, library had the Stevenson book in the computer but it wasn't on the shelf!!! I hate that, I'll have to go back again. Yes, the Strachan book says volume 1 on it.

One problem, this book is difficult to read due to it being to thick and heavy. Hard to hold with one hand. Now, I don't have to workout. Big, should have two books or read on the kindle. I'll have to check if the library has on file for download.

Any ideas if this book is online?

Also, what's the deal with Strachan's two versions of he book? The one I have is over 1000 pages and the other is 384. This version is 2005 and the one I am reading is from 2001.

https://www.amazon.com/First-World-War-Hew-Strachan/dp/0143035185


< Message edited by demyansk -- 2/25/2019 9:56:04 AM >

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/25/2019 5:28:57 PM   
RFalvo69


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Randomizer
From 2010, The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919. Goes into great detail on the politics behind Italy joining the Allies and D'Annunzio's Irredentist movement. Presumably the author is fluent in Italian since the bibliography is primarily Italian sources.


Thank you for the hint. I found out that it was available for Kindle and I bought it.

My Grandfather fought in WWI. He was promoted up to lieutenant-colonel and battalion commander (promotions were very fast in that war ), won two silver medals and got three Austrian machinegun bullets in the back - all the above when he was 22 years old. Somehow he survived, married and managed to live a normal live until his death in 1946, even if with one of the bullets permanently embedded near his spine.

22 years old. Sometimes I find difficult to wrap my mind around it. And, as many veterans do, he never spoke about the war; nothing, not even (my family told me) about how he won his two medals.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/25/2019 9:21:28 PM   
nicwb

 

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quote:

Funny, after reading the first few posts went to the library and took out Hew Strachan's book. Whoa, the thing is heavier than a 5 lb weight!!

Also, library had the Stevenson book in the computer but it wasn't on the shelf!!! I hate that, I'll have to go back again. Yes, the Strachan book says volume 1 on it.

One problem, this book is difficult to read due to it being to thick and heavy. Hard to hold with one hand. Now, I don't have to workout. Big, should have two books or read on the kindle. I'll have to check if the library has on file for download.

Any ideas if this book is online?

Also, what's the deal with Strachan's two versions of he book? The one I have is over 1000 pages and the other is 384. This version is 2005 and the one I am reading is from 2001.



The 384 page version is a summary version of the larger book Strachan planned to write. Apparently Strachan had already written Vol 1 of the larger work (your 5lb job) when he was approached about the possibility of a television documentary series on the topic. The result was the 384 page version plus a very good ten-part television documentary.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/26/2019 12:22:36 AM   
demyansk


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Thanks nic for the clarification. I finished 40 pages today, I can read fast and not worried about reading each word or detail. After this book, I want to read the Cataclysm book. I have the Martin Gilbert book on my shelf to plus a pictorial encyclopedia of ww1.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/27/2019 6:15:06 AM   
JoannYoung

 

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Well, the title is somewhat similar to the shooter battle games. I actually used to play the shooter video game where I need to apply some tips and strategy to win. One can take help from the games like Destiny 2 and COD.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/27/2019 6:17:29 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JoannYoung

Well, the title is somewhat similar to the shooter battle games. I actually used to play the shooter video game where I need to apply some tips and strategy to win. One can take help from the games like Destiny 2 and COD.
warspite1

Thanks JoannYoung - that's a great addition to this WWI book thread.


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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 2/28/2019 5:29:09 PM   
wodin


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Best I've read by far as a 1 volume book covering everything about the War has to be Pandora's Box by J Leonhard. Stunning up to date piece of work

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 3/1/2019 12:14:45 AM   
demyansk


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Where is Zak on that little post? Maybe it slipped through. I am not sure I can finish Hews book in the library's allotted time.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 3/1/2019 1:30:57 AM   
wodin


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Really do hope someone else reads Pandora's Box to back me up. To be honest I don't think I've read a book that's easy to read yet immensely detailed that looks at a period of history at this scale. The chapters on the build up to War look at areas I've never seen broached before. Eye open ing and I'm WW1 obsessive.

Seriously not sure what it doesn't look into.

Was first published in German.


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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 3/1/2019 6:38:00 AM   
DonCzirr


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I shall add it to my shopping list with some others mentioned above.

It's becoming apparent to me that the material I am searching for (as described in the original post) does not exist all in one place and without the additional content to sift through.

That's ok - it just means doing a bit of work and a bit more spending to put it all together.

Perhaps someday, such a work will appear .... and then I will gleefully pounce on it ...

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 3/1/2019 6:53:40 PM   
wodin


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Pandora's Box is pretty much exactly what you are looking for.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 3/2/2019 5:56:47 AM   
Technopiper

 

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German High Command at War by Robert Asprey

Like David Glantz, Asprey has a military intelligence background and an insight to the criminal mind. I value that in history studies. "First hand history" are often huge cover-ups by those involved. Asprey is merciless on "the Duo" of Hindenburg-Ludendorf. Very enjoyable read.

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 3/2/2019 2:55:59 PM   
demyansk


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Hi Guys,

I went to the local library again and the Cataclysm book (Stevenson) was supposed to be on the shelf. I checked and checked and decided to go to the desk to help out. He came over to look as well, no luck. The book was checked out in 2004. I reported to the main desk and they will most likely take it off the website as available.

Does anyone have a copy that they don't want or I can just go on Amazon and buy.

Second, what do the local libraries do with this type of situation? Can they go back and try to figure out who had it last? The librarian told me once that they don't keep certain info?

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RE: Book about WWI from Strategic Perspective? - 3/2/2019 4:24:47 PM   
matt3916

 

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Interlibrary loan is your friend. The research desk at your local library should be able to help you. I've been using ILL for years.

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