Read World War One: A Short History by Norman Stone Online


In World War One: A Short History, Norman Stone provides a terse, opinionated and wry short history of the First World War.In 1914 a new kind of war, and a new kind of world, came about. Fourteen million combatants died, a further twenty million were wounded, four empires were destroyed and even the victors' empires were fatally damaged. The First World War marked a revoluIn World War One: A Short History, Norman Stone provides a terse, opinionated and wry short history of the First World War.In 1914 a new kind of war, and a new kind of world, came about. Fourteen million combatants died, a further twenty million were wounded, four empires were destroyed and even the victors' empires were fatally damaged. The First World War marked a revolution in the technology of slaughter as trench warfare, artillery barrages, tanks and chemical warfare made their mark on the battlefield for the first time.The sheer complexity and scale of the war have encouraged historians to write books on a similar scale. But in only 140 pages, Norman Stone distils a lifetime of teaching, arguing and thinking to reframe the overwhelming disaster whose aftershocks shaped the rest of the twentieth century.'Bold, provocative and witty ... one of the outstanding historians of our age'   Spectator'Do we need another history of the First World War? The answer in the case of Norman Stone's short book is, yes - because of its opinionated freshness and the unusual, sharp facts that fly about like shrapnel'  Literary Review'Exhilarating ... scintillating ... a heady cocktail'  Observer'Entertaining and insightful ... one of the handful of living historians who can write with style and wit'  Tibor Fischer, Sunday Telegraph, Books of the YearNorman Stone is one of Britain's most celebrated historians. He is the author of The Eastern Front, 1914-1917, Hitler: An Introduction, Europe Transformed and The Atlantic and its Enemies. He has taught at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bilkent, where he is now Director of the Turkish-Russian Centre....

Title : World War One: A Short History
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780141031569
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 225 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

World War One: A Short History Reviews

  • Carla
    2019-02-13 19:13

    “A oeste nada de novo” assombrou-me a tal ponto que senti a necessidade de procurar respostas para a loucura ali descrita, mas apenas encontrei mais assombro com esta História Concisa da Primeira Guerra Mundial. Apesar da incompreensão que me avassala, tenho que continuar a procurar estas respostas parcelares que apenas contribuem para o aumento do meu pasmo.Para já, chega de guerra. Chega de realidade.

  • David
    2019-02-22 22:11

    This book raises some important questions, i.e., (a) what were they smoking when they published it?, and (2) where can I get some?Although reading is my favorite activity, the process which leads to publication is a mystery to me. Why did Basic Books publish this book? Who did they think was going to read it? Call me crazy if you want, but I thought that the overwhelming majority of sales might to university undergraduates taking a survey course of twentieth-century history, with a minority of aspiring armchair-history geeks, especially in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the start of the war. Instead, it seems to be written for people who already know a lot about WWI but want to read about the whole violent soggy mess one more time, perhaps for the sheer joy of reading about the senseless suffering of others. Is that a important demographic that I am unaware of? This book has two of the things in history books which give me the vapors: (1) names of people, places, and ideas introduced without adequate explanation, and (ii) untranslated French. Pardon me while I lie on a divan in a darkened room to recover.There are also occasional “Wha?” moments, where the author shows that he has the editorial freedom to introduce odd, disputable, and slightly irrelevant facts, just 'cause he can, and apparently his editor will not object. For example, at Kindle location 682 (the ebook is unburdened with traditional page numbers), the author contends (without footnote or supporting evidence) that a German government official named Riezler was “responsible” for the development of the first nuclear bomb by the United States, because he passed on “the secret” that he allegedly received from German Jewish exiles. Huh? You mean that the first nuclear weapon was developed on the basis of a secret recipe from a German diplomat? What about the Manhattan project? The University of Chicago? Oak Ridge? Los Alamos? I mean, that can't be right. I distinctly remember that there were other people involved.Similarly, at Kindle location 1736, the author says that, in July 1918, German troops were reporting sick in higher numbers, and says that it was a symptom of approaching defeatism in the ranks. Hmm, didn't I hear something about the deadliest influenza epidemic in history taking place at that time? Couldn't that be some kind of confounding variable? I mean, it's possible that Stone is correct, but he needs to supply more evidence and at least mention the Spanish Flu.While I'm giving this book a sound thrashing, I'd like to point out that, contrary to Stone's assertion at location 1976, historian Barbara Tuchman, author of a well-known book about WWI, was not the daughter of Henry Morgenthau Sr., US Ambassador in WWI Istanbul. She was his granddaughter. (If you don't believe Wikipedia, how about her obituary in the New York Times here?) Did anyone fact-check, or even read, this book before publication?Occasionally, the author will suddenly snap to attention with an entertaining fact (e.g, one of the first orders issued by the Romanian army during WWI forbid junior officers to use eye shadow (l. 1138)) or a crisp, concise description of an obscure military term (“counter-battery fire” (l. 1710)), at which time it is clear how much better this book could have been if mindful attention had been given to its preparation. The book also has maps, which refer to many of the places mentioned in the book. The maps are hidden at the end of the book, and not referred to in the table of contents or the narrative. Of course, if you have a paper copy of the book, you might stumble upon it by accident, while riffling through the book, wondering how such a thing achieved the dignity of print. But the maps are completely hidden from people reading on Kindle ebook until it's too late.

  • Lobstergirl
    2019-02-03 20:16

    Short and unsatisfying.I picked this off the library shelf to read in accompaniment with a World War I novel I'm reading as a group read. This book was not on my radar; I don't think I've heard of the author; but the books on WWI that actually are on my to-read list are fairly massive, and I wanted something that I would finish at about the same time as the novel. My knowledge of WWI at this point is pretty much The Guns of August.Is everyone else excited for the WWI centennial???

  • Lboyd
    2019-01-30 16:10

    Liam Boyd Indie Reads II, Assignment 3 I am not a fan of World War One, A Short History, by Norman Stone. My feeling about this book is that it was like reading a dictionary; always correct, but dry fact after dry fact, etcetera! There is not enough personal information about any of the key politicians, generals or soldiers to make them interesting. Kaiser Wilhelm, Churchill and others were very interesting men who have had much written about them, but in this book, they are just names. For example, all the book says about Kaiser Wilhelm II was that “he wanted to model England, achieve vast riches and an overseas empire like England.” He caused others to view Germany as “a-the- European problem.”The book, although well written, is difficult to follow. I had to re-read many passages in order to keep track of what was happening. The author jumps back and forth between armies and generals too quickly. I believe if Stone presented each army or navy perspective of a battle without jumping around, it would have been easier for the reader to follow events and battles with a clear picture of what was really happening. One of the ways that would make the book easier to follow would be to include maps and front lines in the chapters instead of as appendices at the end of the book. Also, it would be easier to follow troop movement by showing the army and general on each map. It would be helpful if these were in color instead of black and white. For example, the Russian Army could have red lines, the French blue, the English green, etc.Unlike The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, by Edmond Morris, this was not a story that made me want to stay up reading late into the night.

  • Jack
    2019-01-30 20:17

    This is a skimpy account of World War I, narrowly-focused on the military dimensions of that conflict. For some reason, I expected this book to include brief but essential discussions of the social history and diplomacy of the war; I should have been tipped off by the illustration on the front cover, which shows a gas-masked soldier on horseback. In this case, it's definitely a matter of "what you see is what you get".It turns out that what you "get" is a flood of information about WWI combat, with names of military officers and locations hastily introduced and then quickly tossed aside. The text chapters are organized by year ("1914", "1915", etc.) rather than by topic, so there is no notable development of significant themes that might interest or stimulate the general reader. These chronological chapters are relatively short, but seem unusually unfocused and long-winded. They're also poorly-formatted, with several paragraphs exceeding well over one text page in size. Overall I got the impression that the editor of this book recorded a rambllng off-the-cuff lecture by Norman Stone, and then assigned someone to transcribe it and prepare it for publication. The cheer lines in the dustjacket blurbs ("one of the world's great historians", "scintillating", "exhilirating", "Dayum!") remind us that Stone is a highly-regarded scholar, but nevertheless this book appears to have been phoned-in.(OK, OK...I made up the part about "Dayum!")

  • T.J.
    2019-02-06 17:59

    World War One : A Short History by Norman Stone was a book I definately would reccomend to someone that wants to learn some backround information on World War I. In this book Norman Stone elaborates and presents the collapses of the four empires: Hapsburg, German,Tsarist, and The Ottoman Empire collapsed. He also challenges the current understandings of treaties that were created after the war by expanding and introducing them as failures. He also introduces the conflicts and European countries preperation for a main European War.After reading this book I feel like I can comprehend World War I and the events that occured during the war a lot better than before I started to read this book. World War One: A Short History, by Norman Stone was really a great book and I reccomend it to those that want to learn more of a backround about World War I and are intersted in the first World War.

  • Neale Rigg
    2019-02-20 22:02

    Didn't see the ending coming at all LOL

  • Jordan
    2019-02-22 14:59

    A very good short narrative of the main currents of the First World War, though I hesitate to say that it's a good "introduction." Stone is a master of the material and crafts an effective 190-page version of the war, one that covers all the major campaigns and battles and plenty of the war's political, social, and economic effects. It's an accomplishment, and I don't hesitate to recommend it.An historian writing a narrative this short must be choosy about what he covers, and Stone does extraordinarily well. The book predominantly focuses on the European theater of the war—Eastern Front, Western Front, and Italian Front—with very brief asides on things like the Salonica or Gallipoli campaigns or worldwide naval warfare. The war in Africa is mentioned not at all, though the fighting there was small-scale and ultimately irrelevant to the war's outcome, where is probably why Stone excluded it—an indication of the good judgment that went into organizing such a difficult task. However, there are two traits—I don't really want to call them flaws—that keep me from rating Stone's book at five stars: First, the opening chapter, on the context and political trends that led to war in 1914, is muddled and occasionally hard to follow. Stone's enviable ability to construct tight, concise narrative of complicated chains of events is not evident here, at the beginning. The book only really comes into its own in the chapters on 1915 and 1916, the latter—the year of Verdun and the Somme—being especially good. If you read this and find the opening tough going, persevere. Second, Stone, probably in the interest of concision and space, seldom introduces figures with any kind of indication of who, exactly, they are. This is especially the case early on. Consider this passage from 1914:Further to the north Lanrezac's army also did badly, and began to retreat away from Namur. It lost touch with the British, whose commander, Sir John French, waxed irascible. On 23 August the right-hand German army, Kluck's First, ran into the British on the Mons-Conde canal, and British regulars, firing one round every four seconds, held off considerably superior numbers, inflicting three times the 1,850 losses they themselves suffered. In the afternoon, German howitzers arrived to deal with the difficult situation and the British retreated, parallel with Lanrezac's army.This is almost the best paragraph-length treatment of these events possible, but the leaders here are name-dropped with little indication of who they are. Even the bit of characterization for Sir John French will make little sense to someone without an already fairly good knowledge of the events. This paragraph also marks the first time in the entire book that French and Alexander von Kluck are mentioned, and Lanrezac had only been mentioned on the facing page before this point. It may have been better, rather than introducing a scattering of army commanders' names in an otherwise brisk and succinct narrative, to leave them out and discuss simply the movements of "the British" or "the German right wing" or "the French." A quickly introduced series of unexplained names can, I have seen, scare off readers or students who feel like they are being swamped with people to remember. Fortunately, this problem is restricted primarily to the first few chapters of the book, and is relatively minor.Those two minor problems out of the way, this is, again, an excellent short summary of the war, with a good final chapter on the war's catastrophic aftermath and the way its results fed the rise of National Socialism in Weimar Germany. Recommended.

  • Lghamilton
    2019-01-25 20:49

    After reading Guns of August, which only covered the first month of the war, I wanted more. I read about this book and thought it would give a good overview of the war, and I liked the year-by-year analysis. However, the author's too-frequent use of parentheticals chopped the story up, and often the little asides did not add much or assumed the reader knew more. Also, his too-frequent use of pronouns made me backtrack through paragraphs to figure out who Stone was talking about. As an example, on page 164, Stone is discussing the British Fifth Army and its bad luck commander, Gough, who midway through this page (and battle), loses control. More than a page passes with no mention of Gough; in fact we read about Ludendorff and Porsche for a bit. I assume Stone is referring again to Gough on page 166 (top) when he says "the British infantry were at last well-served by their commander, who... accepted a French commander." Was this Gough? I had to go back two pages to double-check. For a book that is targeted as an overview, the audience must be assumed to NOT be experts on WWI.

  • Maryellen
    2019-01-27 14:52

    Well frankly this book was a waste of time. The author seems so intent on amusing us with his epigrams that the war comes off as a jolly laugh. Also, some of them border on anti-Catholic. This may be the fault of the author's writing. At one point I thought English was his second language but on researching his background, I found out he was born and raised in Scotland. His overuse of the coma is criminal. So is his fondness for parenthesis. Not for the novice. Only someone who is well read in WW1 could understand what the author was writing about.

  • Andrew Fear
    2019-02-13 13:49

    I wish I could write like this. Stone manages to extract the key themes of the war without becoming bogged down in a somme of detail. This isn't for tactical military historians, but is full of insights and theories about strategy. Inevitably some bits and pieces aren't there - the East African War for example, but then as side shows they are rightly ignored. Stone adds just enough personalia and dry wit to keep the whole thing entertaining as well as informative and thought-provoking. A grand book.

  • Esculapio Poblete
    2019-02-06 14:07

    I wanted to solve a big doubt I had: why the First World War began? And the book solves this problem brilliantly. The world before the war was in a delicate equilibrium, colonies were looked as a source of power and economic strength. A huge empire, the Ottoman was on the brink of dismembering, and like scavengers, European countries were sniffing the prey.Germany was a powerful country but they were worried by the huge white country, Russia. If Russia developed infrastructures, allowing them to mobilize his enormous army this could break equilibrium in the old continent. Germany decided it was the moment to force the situation.This and others explanations help you understand why war began, and even why every country in Europe seemed to think it was inevitable. What everyone seemed to fail about was the duration and consequences of the big war. The author explains masterly how the war evolved and ended letting a frail equilibrium behind it. So frail that in a few years a new war began, again, sparkled by the same country.It´s a bit confusing to follow the battles and main events in the war. Betting for briefness the author gives a few strokes of the main combats but it´s not easy to understand them without a previous knowledge.I strongly will encourage anyone to read the book, especially the first part where outbreak of war is explained, and also the final part where it explains how an unfinished business were the seeds of a more bloody and callous war.

  • Kaden Cole
    2019-02-06 14:59

    World War One A Short History by Norman Stone is a book over the summary of World War One. There aren't many main characters because everyone had played a key role in this war. The big conflict in this book was the war over the Axis trying to take more power than the need and the Allies trying to control even amounts of power for every country. This war takes place in Some parts of Russia, Asia and most of Europe. Even though this war took place over a 100 years ago it gives great description, so I’m able to relate to the soldiers, and I feel like I was right there next to them; taking part in the fight. This book has lots of great detail and some some interesting parts that you just can't wait to find out how it turns out.Once you start to read it you will definitely pick a side in the war for who should win, either the Axis, or the Allies. One of my favorite parts in the book was the ending when you could really tell it was going to be over and you know who was going to win. A part I would like to change is maybe if I could change it from nonfiction and make it realistic fiction, so it has a lot more interesting parts to keep you interested in this story. Someone who would like to read this book is historic fans especially the ones who specializes in war history.

  • Marikiya
    2019-02-04 14:55

    Eee.. básicamente todo lo que no hay que hacer cuando explicas historia. Introducir datos a cholón, no dar apenas explicaciones, seguir sumando hechos y cifras mientras se mantiene la omnipresente narración academicista, y peor aún, soltar frases pedantes y presuntuosas. Mi propósito con esta lectura era repasar el trasfondo político, económico y social de este momento histórico, pero no ha podido ser, porque la mayoría de las páginas se pierden en lo puramente militar. Pues a eso no lo titules Breve historia de la Primera Guerra Mundial, llámalo Breve recopilación de las decisiones militares que tomaban los mandos del ejército de cada país un año detrás de otro en la Primera Guerra Mundial. Di de que va el libro, haz el favor. El capítulo de las repercusiones internacionales tiene 5 páginas. De pena.

  • Tim
    2019-02-20 21:55

    A short summary that has a few points but treats the subject with an attitude that is too flippant and arrogant; dismissing points that are complicated and subtle with a ‘I know it all for sure wave-of-the-hand-dismissal.’ I would not recommend it as an introduction.

  • Carolyn
    2019-01-25 14:08

    I was looking more for a political history, and this was more military.

  • Brendan McCauley
    2019-02-15 17:02

    Not particularly enlightening. Find another book on the topic.

  • Richard Kearney
    2019-01-26 14:03

    Norman Stone's "World War One: A Short History" is a well-written narrative focused on the military history of the conflict that decisively and traumatically influenced events around the globe right up to the present day, although it does not neglect the war's political and diplomatic dimensions. Stone, a distinguished historian of the twentieth century who has published extensively on both world wars and Turkish history, offers a fairly comprehensive perspective on the participants and events of the war, giving equal time to the different European fronts, and the result is a thought-provoking interpretation likely to make any reader want to learn more.Bookended by chapters on the outbreak and aftermath of the war, the five central chapters are organized around each calendar year and its principal events. Stone traces the early war of movement and the eventual stalemate on the Western front, describing the slow and extremely costly process by which military officials on each side eventually learned how to adjust their strategic and tactical thinking to the new realities of large-scale mobilizations and the massive killing power of newer technologies, including machine guns, fragmentation grenades, poison gas, flamethrowers, submarines, tanks, and aircraft.The learning process was quite gradual, and senior military officials sacrificed thousands of soldiers in protracted offensives on the Western front such as the battles of Verdun, the Somme, Passchendaele, and Ypres. Several generals persisted in an increasingly untenable belief that cavalry might have a significant role to play and wasted resources on maintaining such forces. Time after time commanders squandered small territorial gains by attempting to pursue an advantage without giving due consideration both to weaknesses in their own supply lines and the role of reserves on the enemy side.On the much wider eastern front, Germans, Austrians, Turks, and Russians found more fluid conditions and more opportunities to maintain a war of movement, but the scale of the conflict, the precarious and shifting fortunes of Austro-Hungarian forces, the strained resources of a Germany fighting on two fronts, and the massive yet poorly-organized, poorly-supplied and poorly-led Russian armies created a different type of stalemate for several years. While British blockades against German trade forced the German government to adopt a highly effective command economy for war, the older empires of the east were less able to cope with long-term mobilization. Neither their state and military bureaucracies, nor their finances, nor their industrial capacity, were in a position to endure such large-scale attrition, and Russia's revolution was a direct consequence of the war.Stone provides interesting insights into the character and effectiveness of such major figures as Erich von Falkenhayn, Helmuth von Moltke, Joseph Joffre, John French, Douglas Haig, Conrad von Hötzendorf, Ferdinand Foch, Luigi Cadorna, Paul von Hindenburg, and Erich Ludendorff. Stone's judgment of Ludendorff - who suffered a major breakdown in the process of confronting defeat in 1918 - is especially severe. Ludendorff amassed a distinguished record on the eastern front in the early years of the war, rising to effective commend of the German war effort in the final years of the conflict, but his refusal to accept defeat or assume any responsibility led him to turn quickly against the civilian government he installed to negotiate peace terms. Ludendorff soon became the major proponent of the utterly false "stab-in-the-back theory" that poisoned German politics for years to come and provided an effective myth for Hitler and the Nazi Party.No brief history of a subject so large can do full justice to all of its aspects, and Stone does not attempt to take up topics in the social history of the war in more than passing mentions, but readers will find his 190-page treatment compelling, and even disagreements with major or minor points of interpretation should lead to further investigation, such as can be found in the nine-page bibliographic essay on sources at the end of the book. As we approach the centennial of the war's outbreak, it's as good a time as any to become better acquainted with the First World War. Far from being a distant event, it is as present as today's news.

  • Jonathan
    2019-02-07 15:04

    A couple of weeks ago whilst watching some programme about the first world war I realised that I don't actually know much about it. So I thought I'd remedy the situation. I will probably read a more in-depth book at some point in the future but I thought it would be useful to read a quick summary first - so I picked up this book at my local library. Once you've discounted photographs, blank pages, maps, the index etc. the page count is more like 120 pages. So it's called a 'Short History' and that's exactly what it is. So the author has to cover a lot of ground in a short space and make generalisations that will probably make those who know more about the subject wince. He doesn't try anything spectacular - he just tells the story in a straight forward manner and separated into short punchy chapters. BUTI got the feeling that the book was written in a rush and with little, if any, editing. As an example, some of the sentences have so many asides, colons, semi-colons and commas that at times it's quite difficult to read. My 'favourite' appears on page 57:But there was a further precedent (and this was an age when men were very taken with historical precedents): 'the soft under-belly' - in Napoleon's time, Spain; now, Turkey?Surely this sentence could be cleaned up. It's the sort of near-gibberish that I often write myself, but one can usually make it a bit clearer. There was another section where he was writing about events near the end of the war but in the present tense - it was confusing at first as I thought maybe he was quoting someone but I'd missed the quotation marks, but no, as I checked back he'd just changed from past tense to present tense. Again, this is the sort of thing that I do all the time, but surely an editor should clear up all these inconsistencies.Also, apparently Hemingway wrote a book called Goodbye to Arms. See p. 123.Anyway, if you're after a quick chronological introduction to the first world war don't let all my minor criticisms put you off reading it. There are several useful maps at the back and some suggestions for further reading. On the whole, it's quite a good book and with a little editing/proof reading it could be even better.

  • Amjad Badenjki
    2019-02-10 15:09

    In 1914, a massive war that lasted for four years that has included the countries of the United States, Ottoman Empire, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Japan, Italy, France, Greece, and many more, all took place in this terror. This war was known as World War I. The main reason, why World War I started was because of an assassination of a man called Archduke Franz Ferdinand reason being that people didn't like that Hungary and Austria had to be stuck to each other. Another reason is because everyone thought they were better than each other. So, Austria-Hungary started attacking Serbia which led Russia to attack Austria-Hungary. Which led to Germany attacking Russia. Germany knowing France would attack quickly, they have quickly moved to invade Belgium before France could do anything. Before the invasion of Belgium, England came in and stopped Germany's plan. In conclusion, one attack on one country led to have many attacks on many countries.When Germany meet France in the borders of France, they have both built trenches fortifying their base. Each time they would have made their trenches bigger and bigger but no side would have had any impact in months. One event of a very strange action which is when Christmas came along in 1914, both sides ignored the fact that they were enemies, and went out of their trenches and started celebrating. The following day everyone came back and they had to be enemies again. In 1916, France has started to push into the Germans to kill them off but Germans killed a lot of French men using gas weapons. In conclusion, Germany and France's battle lasted from July 1914 to November 1915.I would recommend this book to a history teacher so this person could get more details from the war. I would also recommend this book to a person interested in wars and action. There are many events that happened in this war but thats up to you if you want to read the book or not.

  • Ryan J
    2019-02-12 13:50

    In this book there is a very strong and detailed description of World War 1. The author gives information on specific battles and what is happening in Europe through the years of 1914-1918. The book opens in early 1914 and shows Germany's true intentions of gaining land in Eurpoe, and their plan the take out the Russian Army before the Russians became to powerful. Germany had been waiting for the right moment to declare war on Russia. Then, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian assassin, and Austria declared war on Serbia, Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary, and finally Germany declared war on Russia. Russia was in an alliance with France therefore, France became involved in the war. The British became involved in the war as they helped the French on the western front. In late 1914 Germany sailed battleships into Turkey and encouraged Turkey into joining them in the war as part of the Central Powers. The war continued for another 4 years, with many causalties and many new technologies in warfare. The author of this book provides the reader with lots of information and details. After reading this book, you will really have a better understanding of World War 1. World War 1 was deadly, but who came out on top acheiving victory? Was it the Central Powers or the Allies? You'll have to read to find out more.

  • Mike Knox
    2019-02-19 20:15

    Chapter 1 (Outbreak) weaves together the various factors that made Europe a place where war was waiting to happen. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was ‘the inevitable accident’. Years later the murderer said that if he had not done it, “the Germans would have found another excuse” (23). "The generation that emerged into maturity around 1890 has much to answer for…the greatest mistake of the twentieth century was made when Germany built a navy designed to attack [Great Britain:]” (10-11).“No war has ever begun with such a fundamental misunderstanding of its nature” (36).“The noise of German movements was concealed by, of all things, the croaking of frogs in the Aisne, and the surprise was almost complete” (168-9). “The real disaster, in all of this, was that Germans did not think that they had been defeated” (189).Prophetic words of Lloyd George: “if peace were made now, in twenty years’ time the Germans would say what Carthage had said about the First Punic War, namely that they had made this mistake and that mistake, and by better preparation and organization they would be able to bring about victory next time” (189).“The way was open for a Second World War even more terrible than the First” (190).

  • Jim Coughenour
    2019-02-03 19:50

    If you want to get a solid understanding of World War One in an afternoon, this book would be hard to beat. Stone moves expertly across the years and geography of a conflict that still seems impossible to grasp in its stupidity and staggering cost – and not only in terms of lives and fortune: this war more or less accomplished the suicide of European civilization. (For an exalted examination of that idea, see George Steiner's In Bluebeard's Castle.)Stone is masterful at summing up the current scholarly consensus on the war (his annotated biography is a treat for any history buff), but the brevity of his book masks the monstrous absurdity of battles in which brilliant young men, the flower of their countries, dutifully marched to their death by the tens of thousands in a single day. For that you need Robert Graves, David Jones, Sebastian Faulks, Paul Fussell, Barbara Tuchman and John Keegan – and theirs are the easy books. Beyond those, there are tomes such as Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War and Orlando Figes's A People's Tragedy, formidable, staring stonily at me from their long undisturbed place on my shelves.

  • Jacob O
    2019-02-14 16:57

    I think that World War One: A Short History by Norman Stone was an average book. It got the main points across, but I lost interest quickly. The author explains important events of the war in such a way that I had to read pages over and over again until I could understand what he was talking about. Battles are explained poorly as well. No interesting facts or detailed descriptions of the battles are given, just a simple explanation of what the plan was and who won. Also, none of the important people of the war are explained. They are simply mentioned and it is as if you are expected to know everything about them already. I would reccomend this book to tennagers over fourteen due to complicated wording and a story line that is hard to follow. I would also reccomend this book to people who already have prior knowledge of World War One because people who know nothing about the war will become easily confused. Overall, the book gave very basic information at a slow pace with very few things that got me interested.

  • Lauren
    2019-01-25 14:12

    Boring. A slog. If I wanted a dry recitation of "troops move this way and conquer X, troops move that way and are defeated at Y," I could have just sat down for a game of Risk, and it would have been shorter too. Maybe that's a little harsh. What it comes down to is that I'm just not interested in military actions. I'm usually more interested in the diplomatic and social context that leads to them. And while this book did have some of that, especially in the final couple chapters, it just wasn't focused on enough. In a way, I feel bad because I'm judging this book more based on what I wish it were than on what it set out to be (which I'll let other judge its success on), but what it comes down to is that I just can't say with a straight face that I enjoyed reading it, which is a prerequisite for me to give any book I read a third star.

  • Christopher Litsinger
    2019-02-20 17:13

    I read this book after seeing it on a list of "the best books of the last decade that you didn't read" and figuring I didn't know that much about World War One and it was probably time to change that.The book's greatest strength is also it's greatest weakness- it is, as it says a short history. At 200 pages in print, it read to me at times like lists of places and names that I wasn't so familiar with.All the same, if you are looking for a quick overview of the war, this is a fine place to start.Probably the bit that will stick with me the most is the amazing changes in technology that the war saw- the change from fortresses and horseback cavalry charges to chemical warfare and tanks and airplanes, as well as medicine that made recovery from war wounds a real possibility.

  • Gregory
    2019-02-08 18:04

    Well worth the read because of the grand sweep and scope it gives you, in a manageable number of pages.The problem with WW I, as opposed to WW II, is that it was very much a static war, and not much of a war of movement. So, keeping track of what happened when is more difficult--you don't have the moving lines on a map to remind you of the sequence of events.There were, after all, multiple battles over even the same territory (e.g., First Ypres, Second Ypres, Third Ypres/Paaschendale). This is probably the most accessible "quick overview" that I've found. I'd start here, and then read other works, rather than do it in reverse as I did.

  • Johanne
    2019-02-15 19:48

    Good but it really is short - less than 200 pages - one substantial chapter per year roughly. It does look at all the fronts too so there is a tremendous amount compressed into this slim volume and if you want anything more than an overview it needs to be followed up with more detailed works - of which there is a good list of recommendations. It is inevitably given its size an opinionated read and leans to the lions led by donkeys cliche of the the great war but it is sprinkled with odd facts too - one of the first orders given to the Romanian Officer was one that forbade them from wearing eye-shadow in battle!Worth it but its an intro not a comprehensive look.

  • Peter Ellwood
    2019-02-02 21:57

    Great fun to read: Stone is opinionated and at times brutal, and he sure has opinions on the conduct of war. But it's quite striking how little this admittedly short book actually tells you: for example the gas attacks and the 1915 battle of Ypres - one of the major events of the entire war - is dealt with in a couple of sentences. I might come back to this book again some day, once I have read a more detailed and conventional account of the war. I imagine the Stone book might well form an interesting commentary if you already know the facts. But it won't always tell you the facts themselves.

  • John
    2019-02-07 16:13

    Not a bad book. It doesn't sell itself as being big on details and information, like most historical books about wars - but it does deliver on what it calls itself. Namely, "A Short History (of WWI)." It covers a lot of territory very concisely and quite swiftly. Some of the details included are things not found elsewhere, whereas some points are straight facts that can be found in other books. As a supplementary piece, it does the trick. It does inspire one to want to read more on the insanities of the Great War that is known as World War I.