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.
Bamford makes this case largely in the last third of his book. He uses the first two-thirds to meticulously lay out how the Sept. 11 aircraft were hijacked, the numerous intelligence and logistical failures that led to al Qaeda's successful strike and the reaction to the attacks in official Washington. Highly readable and well-researched, this account offers new insights into how the Sept. 11 hijackings occurred, while also showing how terribly ill-equipped and unprepared our defense systems were to deal with these kinds of attacks.