In his classic book, T.E. Lawrence--forever known as Lawrence of Arabia--recounts his role in the origin of the modern Arab world. At first a shy Oxford scholar and archaeologist with a facility for languages, he joined and went on to lead the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks while the rest of the world was enmeshed in World War I. With its richly detailed evocation of the land and the people Lawrence passionately believed in, its incisive portraits of key players, from Faisal ibn Hussein, the future Hashemite king of Syria and Iraq, to General Sir Edmund Allenby and other members of the British imperial forces, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is an indispensible primary historical source. It helps us to understand today's Middle East, while giving us thrilling accounts of military exploits (including the liberation of Aqaba and Damascus), clandestine activities, and human foibles.
The definitive account of the Great War and national bestseller from one of our most eminent military historians, John Keegan.The First World War created the modern world. A conflict of unprecedented ferocity, it abruptly ended the relative peace and prosperity of the Victorian era, unleashing such demons of the twentieth century as mechanized warfare and mass death. It also helped to usher in the ideas that have shaped our times--modernism in the arts, new approaches to psychology and medicine, radical thoughts about economics and society--and in so doing shattered the faith in rationalism and liberalism that had prevailed in Europe since the Enlightenment.
The First World War probes the mystery of how a civilization at the height of its achievement could have propelled itself into such a ruinous conflict and takes us behind the scenes of the negotiations among Europe's crowned heads (all of them related to one another by blood) and ministers, and their doomed efforts to defuse the crisis. Keegan reveals how, by an astonishing failure of diplomacy and communication, a bilateral dispute grew to engulf an entire continent. But the heart of Keegan's superb narrative is, of course, his analysis of the military conflict. With unequalled authority and insight, he recreates the nightmarish engagements whose names have become legend--Verdun, the Somme and Gallipoli among them--and sheds new light on the strategies and tactics employed, particularly the contributions of geography and technology. No less central to Keegan's account is the human aspect. He acquaints us with the thoughts of the intriguing personalities who oversaw the tragically unnecessary catastrophe--from heads of state like Russia's hapless tsar, Nicholas II, to renowned warmakers such as Haig, Hindenburg and Joffre. But Keegan reserves his most affecting personal sympathy for those whose individual efforts history has not recorded--"the anonymous millions, indistinguishably drab, undifferentially deprived of any scrap of the glories that by tradition made the life of the man-at-arms tolerable." By the end of the war, three great empires--the Austro-Hungarian, the Russian and the Ottoman--had collapsed. But as Keegan shows, the devastation ex-tended over the entirety of Europe, and still profoundly informs the politics and culture of the continent today. His brilliant, panoramic account of this vast and terrible conflict is destined to take its place among the classics of world history.
Although the Great War might be regarded as the heyday of the big-gun at sea, it also saw the maturing of underwater weapons, the mine and torpedo, as well as the first signs of the future potency of air power. Between 1914 and 1918 weapons development was both rapid and complex. This heavily illustrated work details all the guns, torpedoes, mines, aerial bombs and an anti-submarine systems employed during that period and offers an in-depth explanation of the background to their evolution. The book treats the war as a transition from naval weapons which were essentially experimental at its outbreak to a state where they pointed directly to what would be used in World War II. Based largely on original research, this sophisticated book is more than a catalogue of the weapons, offering insight into some of the most important technical and operational factors influencing the war at sea.
In a work of extraordinary narrative power, filled with brilliant personalities and vivid scenes of dramatic action, Robert K. Massie, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and Dreadnought, elevates to its proper historical importance the role of sea power in the winning of the Great War.The predominant image of this first world war is of mud and trenches, barbed wire, machine guns, poison gas, and slaughter. A generation of European manhood was massacred, and a wound was inflicted on European civilization that required the remainder of the twentieth century to heal. But with all its sacrifice, trench warfare did not win the war for one side or lose it for the other. Over the course of four years, the lines on the Western Front moved scarcely at all; attempts to break through led only to the lengthening of the already unbearably long casualty lists. For the true story of military upheaval, we must look to the sea. On the eve of the war in August 1914, Great Britain and Germany possessed the two greatest navies the world had ever seen. When war came, these two fleets of dreadnoughts--gigantic floating castles of steel able to hurl massive shells at an enemy miles away--were ready to test their terrible power against each other. Their struggles took place in the North Sea and the Pacific, at the Falkland Islands and the Dardanelles. They reached their climax when Germany, suffocated by an implacable naval blockade, decided to strike against the British ring of steel. The result was Jutland, a titanic clash of fifty-eight dreadnoughts, each the home of a thousand men. When the German High Seas Fleet retreated, the kaiser unleashed unrestricted U-boat warfare, which, in its indiscriminate violence, brought a reluctant America into the war. In this way, the German effort to "seize the trident" by defeating the British navy led to the fall of the German empire. Ultimately, the distinguishing feature of Castles of Steel is the author himself. The knowledge, understanding, and literary power Massie brings to this story are unparalleled. His portrayals of Winston Churchill, the British admirals Fisher, Jellicoe, and Beatty, and the Germans Scheer, Hipper, and Tirpitz are stunning in their veracity and artistry. Castles of Steel is about war at sea, leadership and command, courage, genius, and folly. All these elements are given magnificent scope by Robert K. Massie's special and widely hailed literary mastery.
When war broke out in Europe in 1914, it surprised a European population enjoying the most beautiful summer in memory. For nearly a century since, historians have debated the causes of the war. Some have cited the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand; others have concluded it was unavoidable.In Europe's Last Summer, David Fromkin provides a different answer: hostilities were commenced deliberately. In a riveting re-creation of the run-up to war, Fromkin shows how German generals, seeing war as inevitable, manipulated events to precipitate a conflict waged on their own terms. Moving deftly between diplomats, generals, and rulers across Europe, he makes the complex diplomatic negotiations accessible and immediate. Examining the actions of individuals amid larger historical forces, this is a gripping historical narrative and a dramatic reassessment of a key moment in the twentieth-century.
of the Council on Foreign Relations Finalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award For six months in 1919, after the end of "the war to end all wars," the Big Three--President Woodrow Wilson, British prime minister David Lloyd George, and French premier Georges Clemenceau--met in Paris to shape a lasting peace. In this landmark work of narrative history, Margaret MacMillan gives a dramatic and intimate view of those fateful days, which saw new political entities--Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Palestine, among them--born out of the ruins of bankrupt empires, and the borders of the modern world redrawn.
Now in paperback, revised and updated, the stirring and authoritative account of one of World War II's most highly decorated submarines Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em is the first book to recount the tragic and mysterious loss of the World War II submarine USS Gudgeon. In April 1944, the highly decorated submarine USS Gudgeon slipped beneath the waves in one of the most treacherous patrol areas in the most dangerous military service during World War II. Neither the Gudgeon nor the crew was ever seen again.Author Mike Ostlund's "Uncle Bill," the operator of a farm implements business, was aboard that ship as a lieutenant junior grade. Through extensive research of patrol reports in U.S. and Japanese naval archives, interviews with veterans who had served aboard the Gudgeon before its final patrol, and the personal effects of the lost men's relatives, Ostlund has assembled the most accurate account yet of this remarkably successful submarine's exploits, of the men aboard from steward to captain, and of what we now know about her demise. Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em details the memories and life lessons of the young men who went to sea aboard Gudgeon before its last patrol knowing hardly anything, and came home having seen too much.
The Missing of the Somme is part travelogue, part meditation on remembrance--and completely, unabashedly, unlike any other book about the First World War. Through visits to battlefields and memorials, Geoff Dyer examines the way that photographs and film, poetry and prose determined--sometimes in advance of the events described--the way we would think about and remember the war. With his characteristic originality and insight, Dyer untangles and reconstructs the network of myth and memory that illuminates our understanding of, and relationship to, the Great War.