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An Illustrated History of the First World War [Hardcover]

By John Keegan (Author)
Our Price $ 42.50  
Retail Value $ 50.00  
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Item Number 158519  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   456
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 10.9" Width: 9.4" Height: 1.3"
Weight:   4.35 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 31, 2001
Publisher   Knopf
ISBN  037541259X  
EAN  9780375412592  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Outline ReviewMatching nearly 500 photographs, maps, and prints to a thoughtful, interpretive text, renowned military historian John Keegan again turns his attention to "the war to end all wars."

The outbreak of World War I, Keegan notes, caught many Europeans and Americans by surprise. "Europe in the summer of 1914," he writes, "enjoyed a peaceful productivity so dependent on international co-operation that a belief in the impossibility of general war seemed the most conventional of wisdoms." That wisdom was quickly shattered with the onset of hostilities in the Balkans, which soon swept the continent and the world. Keegan takes a large view of events (the massive, multimillion-man offensives along the fronts, for instance) while recalling the agonies (and occasional triumphs) of countless individuals on both sides of the conflict. As he writes, Keegan offers a number of correctives (against other historians, for instance, he asserts that German forces indeed committed atrocities in Belgium), and he catalogs the blunders and disorders that cost each side needlessly and dearly.

No contemporary historian is better equipped than Keegan for his subject, and this book merits a place on the shelf of every student of modern history. -- Gregory McNamee

Product Description
John Keegan's The First World War was everywhere praised, and became the definitive account of the war that created the modern world. The New York Times Book Review acclaimed Keegan as "the best military historian of our day," and the Washington Post called the book "a grand narrative history [and] a pleasure to read."

Now Keegan gives us a lavishly illustrated history of the war, brilliantly interweaving his narrative--some of it derived from his classic work and some of it new--with a brilliant selection of photograps, paintings, cartoons and posters drawn from archives across Europe and America, some published here for the first time. These images take us into the heart of battles that have become legend: Ypres, Gallipoli, Verdun, the Somme. They show us the generals' war and the privates' war--young soldiers, away from home for the first time, coming of age under fire.

We see how a civilization at the height of its power and influence crippled itself as the faith in progress, rationalism and liberalism that had prevailed in Europe since the Enlightenment was shattered. We see how four empires--the German, the Russian, the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman--collapsed, and how the seeds for the Second World War were planted. Keegan tells how ambition, mistrust and failures of diplomacy and communication all played a part in allowing this conflict to set ablaze what was then the world's most prosperous society. And he describes how the effects of this war lasted long after it ended; its ghosts still haunt Europe today.

An Illustrated History of the First World War carries us across the Europe of nearly a century ago, revealing the devastation, camaraderie, political machinations and battlefield maneuverings that changed the world. It presents the essential cast of that cataclysmic drama, from the decision makers at the top--Haig, Joffre, Hindenberg, Pershing--to the troops in the trenches. Through its unique amalgam of pictorial and narrative brilliance, the book illuminates the war as no other work has done.

Buy An Illustrated History of the First World War by John Keegan from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780375412592 & 037541259X

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More About John Keegan

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Keegan, one of the most distinguished contemporary military historians, was for many years Senior Lecturer at Sandhurst, the British Royal Military Academy, and Defense Editor of the London Daily Telegraph. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Keegan is the author of numerous books including The Face of Battle, The Mask of Command, The Price of Admiralty, Six Armies in Normandy, and The Second World War (all available from Penguin). if (SYM == "BIO") { document.writeln("

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John Keegan currently resides in Wiltshire. John Keegan was born in 1934.

John Keegan has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Penguin Classics
  2. Penguin Lives Biographies
  3. Second World War

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > General   [8439  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > History > Europe   [516  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > History > Military > General   [13317  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War I   [1495  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > History > World > General   [35342  similar products]
6Books > Subjects > History > World   [1586  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Highly recommended - although shop for low prices  Mar 27, 2004
This is a very impressive coffee-table volume suitable for browsing or also as a great cover-to-cover read. The book does a great job of setting up the brewing tensions in 1914 that caused pandemonium on all sides. I have long read legions of works on WWII but have not read much on the first war beyond standard accounts such as "All Quiet on the Western Front." For a beginning study of WWI history this book is great, and the reader can clearly grasp all the issues and see how the same causes directly to the even greater pandemonioum of WWII. As the book progresses into accounts of the combat on the various fronts, the writing gets a little plodding to follow at times. But it is still accessible. The maps and photographs are first-rate and quite impressive. There are also numerous insets with brief sidebars on topics such as propaganda posters, women in the factories, etc., that allow the book to serve as a genuine coffee-table book that someone can just pick up for twenty minutes.
This is the type of expensive book that makes it worthwhile to join a low-committment book club such as History Book Club, where you get 4 or 5 books for $1 each and agree to buy one more at regular price and then just cancel. You can generally find enough excellent expensive books like this that can count as only one choice for the introductory $1 and make it well worthwhile to join, rather than shelling out $35 - $50.
Two (or three) books trying to be one - unsuccessfully.  Feb 18, 2003
I have written a lengthier, critical review of Keegan's minimally-illustrated "The First World War", which needs summarizing here in part because the text of that earlier book is essentially reproduced here. There is little point in owning both.

My complaints about the earlier book remain unappeased, but this illustrated edition at least provides a comprehensive visual sense of the Great War. Its inherited failings, in my opinion, are a duo:

(1) Very limited use of maps, either geographic or battlefield, coupled with extensive, extremely detailed descriptions of the geography and movements of battles. This will leave all but the student of the war skimming names and places that float disconnectedly in a vague, abstracted geographic space; somewhat similar to the way one reads an old Russian novel in which the blur of Raskalnikovovitches is cured only by a geneology. This book, illustrated or not, includes only the same, sparse count of 15 maps as the earlier text.

(2) Essentially no attention to the world beyond the battlefield. Keegan introduces his text with a decent description of the diplomatic flounderings that preceded the war, and also makes a sound case that military prerogatives propelled the early months' movement toward stalemate. But one does not get the sense that actual governments or peoples were anything other than bystanders to this war. Perhaps this is, indeed, the case, but I imagine a social or political historian would differ. This book remains a "Military" history, illustrated or not.

These flaws earned the earlier book only two stars. The additional one I propose for this volume is earned by the extensive illustration. In a Technicolor world of laser-guided, night-sighting weaponry, it is easy to bury "the old world" in black and white portraits of kings and tsars. This book suffers from having a few too many of those, but its solid selection of looking-you-in-the-eye soldiers, mud-at-your-ankles trench-shots and even the apparently scarce photos of battle-in-progress brings the gritty reality of this war to reality; black-and-white or not.

The illustrations are often only loosely associated with the chronology of the text - rarely could the text actually ask you, for instance, to "see figure 1" - which illustration shared the page and enhanced the text. This, of course, reflects the fact that the book is a bit of a "paste-up" - the illustrations were pretty much inserted into the pre-existing text. Furthermore, the body of illustrations seems needlessly padded with old shots of generals and leaders. Keegan (presuming he actually selected the photos and other illustrations), seems to have only casually pulled from the vast archive of period photos. The actual text would have been much enhanced by a more careful (albeit time-consuming) process of photo-selection that does not seem to have taken place. (It's actually more than likely that Keegan did not select the illustrations at all. He seems to have become a bit of "an industry" in the military history publishing business. Search on his name and you will find dozens of listings where he has been called upon to edit this or that or to write an introduction to someone else's work.) One imagines a very busy junior editor at work with these photos. Perhaps I'm too cynical - in which case credit Keegan with an only mediocre sense of the uses of illustration.

The book is enhanced, but also interrupted, in a sense, by short thematic groupings of photos and associated text such as "Communications" and "Military Medicine." These are interesting in their own right, but also highlight the fundamental problem of this book - it cannot be read in any fluid sense. The illustrations persistently call one away from a careful reading of the text but the illustrations alone do not come close to telling a coherent story. I found myself flipping ahead looking at photos and reading their supporting text and then backing up and reading only the text.

I remain unsatisfied by either Keegan book and will aim my search toward the few "atlases" of the War available for mapped military history and for less battle-focused texts to tell the whole story. Maybe recognizing that two or even three good books are needed here is at the core of my critique of this one, which tries to be more than it is. It remains for you to decide what you wish to own.

Great all around book on WW 1.  May 25, 2002
This book has great pictures, maps, illustrations, paintings, etc. and good text. Gives a good general overview about the war. Recommended.
This Book Rules  May 2, 2002
This is an excellent book for anyone wanting to know the details of The Great War. It has a nonstop plethora of pictures which take you through the entire war from the assassination of the Archduke to final day of fighting. The book can be very detailed, describing or showing troop movements, horrific battle conditions, and casualty reports. None of the major battles are overlooked. Mention is also made to the fact that most countries were unprepared for 20th century warfare. Major personalities are profiled in special pages of the book including the famous Red Baron. Not limited to just Europe, Keegan describes the war elsewhere in the world including Africa and in the Pacific theatre. War in the air is discussed including a special section on dirigibles and airplanes. A must read for the serious student of WW I.
Exceptional insight into the Great War.  Jan 21, 2002
Like many people of my age, my great grandfather was killed in the First World War and I have become increasingly interested in finding out more about the conflict and the circumstances which led to it. A subject like this is difficult to encapsulate, particularly given the complexity and far reaching nature of the war. I found this book by accident, but was attracted initially by it's format and layout, with a good balance of narrative, artwork, maps and photographs. I am delighted to say that the content of the book more than lived up to it's presentation and I found it extremely easy to read. The author displays complete control of the subject matter and his enthusiasm for his writing shows. My only slight criticism would be the lack of maps relating to some of the events on the Eastern Front, Balkan States and Italy, which at times made the narrative difficult to follow. The ultimate success of this book for me is that it has spurred me onto reading further on the subject. I would thoroughly recommend this book.

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