It will soon be close to a century since the outbreak of the First World War, yet as military historian Hew Strachan argues in this brilliant and authoritative one-volume history, the legacy of the “war to end all wars” is with us still. Written in crisp, compelling prose and enlivened with vivid photographsincluding early color photographsThe First World War re-creates this world-altering conflict both on and off the battlefield. Strachan offers a fresh and truly global perspective on how the Great War not only redrew the map of the world but also set in motion the most dangerous conflicts of today, especially in such hot spots as the Middle East and the Balkans. Deeply learned and powerfully written, The First World War is a landmark work of contemporary history.
If Strachan had the least sense of solidarity with his fellow historians, his book would have failed miserably. Instead, the breadth and depth of his knowledge -- Strachan is midway through a three-volume, "scholarly" history of World War I -- allowed the author to write with a rigor inspired, rather than undermined, by television's brevity. He offers a broad, coherent and convincing vision. The striking period photographs have been chosen with an acuity that reinforces the text. And the prose is so clear that the author's fellow academics may revoke his numerous honors. Ralph LPeters