The Amazon History Book of the Year 2013 is a magisterial chronicle of the calamity that befell Europe in 1914 as the continent shifted from the glamour of the Edwardian era to the tragedy of total war. Nineteen fourteen was a year of unparalleled change. The year that diplomacy failed, imperial Europe was thrown into its first modernised warfare and white-gloved soldiers rode in their masses across pastoral landscapes into the blaze of machine guns. What followed were the costliest days of the entire war.
"Depressing, harrowing but gripping history"
History for busy people. Listen to a concise history of World War One in just one hour. World War One brought with it the world's first experience of Total War, involving all of the world's great powers, polarized between the Triple Entente, led by Britain, France and Russia, and the Central Powers, dominated by Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary. Around nine million men lost their lives in a conflict that introduced the horrors of trench warfare, machine guns, and toxic gas attacks.
"A worthwhile listen. "
Michael Morpurgo's classic tale, capturing the power of the human spirit. First published back in 1982, 'War Horse' has taken the world by storm. The book was adapted to the stage and was performed at the National Theatre and on Broadway. This full and unabridged edition is beautifully performed here by the National Theatre's first Albert, OIivier-award-winner Luke Treadaway. At the outbreak of World War 1, Joey, young Albert's beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France.
No conflict better encapsulates all that went wrong on the Western Front than the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The tragic loss of life and stoic endurance by troops who walked towards their death is an iconic image which will be hard to ignore during the centennial year. Despite this, this book shows the extent to which the Allied armies were in fact able repeatedly to break through the German front lines.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour. In 1914 the world changed. Europe's great powers were dragged, one by one, into a war by Serbian conflict which affected very few of them directly. At least it would resemble the short sharp battles of the previous century, many thought - fought with military bands, horsemen, and swift victories.
The Russian decision to mobilize in July 1914 may have been the single most catastrophic choice of the modern era. Some articulate, thoughtful figures around the tsar understood Russia's fragility, yet they were shouted down by those who were convinced that despite Germany's patent military superiority, Russian greatness required decisive action.
"You must listen to the final chapter"
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Jeremy Paxman's Great Britain's Great War. Read by the actor Roy McMillan, this magnificent history of the First World War tells the story of the war in one gripping narrative from the point of view of the British people. We may think we know about it, but what was life really like for the British people during the First World War?
"Highly accessible social history of the Great War"
Part One Winston Churchill's superlative account of the prelude to and events of the First World War is a defining work of 20th-century history. With dramatic narrative power Churchill reconstructs the action on the Western and Eastern Fronts, the wars at sea and in the air and the advent of tanks and U-boats.
It's early 1918, and after four brutal years the fate of the Great War hangs in the balance. On the one hand, the fact that Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks have seized power in Russia - immediately suing for peace with Germany - means that no fewer than one million of the Kaiser's soldiers can now be transferred from there to the Western Front. On the other, now that America has entered the war, it means that two million American soldiers are also on their way, to tip the scales of war in favor of the Allies.
A groundbreaking historical study, Norman Stone's The Eastern Front 1914-1917 was the very first authoritative account of the Russian Front in the First World War to be published in the West. In this now-classic history he dispels the myths surrounding a still relatively little-known aspect of the war, showing how inefficiency rather than economic shortage led to Russia's desperate privations and eventual retreat.
He also interprets the connection between the war and the chaos that followed, arguing that although fighting had almost ceased by the end of 1916, Russia was still in turmoil.
On 1 July 1916, Douglas Haig's army launched the "Big Push" that was supposed finally to bring an end to the stalemate on the Western Front. What happened next was a human catastrophe: scrambling over the top into the face of the German machine guns and artillery fire, 19,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers were killed, the greatest loss in a single day ever sustained by the British Army. The battle did not stop there, however.
Many of us know that the First World War began when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo in June of 1914. But have you ever wondered exactly what chain of events led up to the incident that caused the whole world to erupt into one of the bloodiest conflicts in our history?
Wounded traces the journey made by a casualty from the battlefield to a hospital in Britain. It is a story told through the testimony of those who cared for him - stretcher bearers and medical officers, surgeons and chaplains, orderlies and nurses - from the aid post in the trenches to the casualty clearing station and the ambulance train back to Blighty. We feel the calloused hands of the stretcher-bearers; we see the bloody dressings and bandages; we smell the nauseating gangrene and, at London's stations, the gas clinging to the uniforms of the men arriving home.
This epic account of the events of 1918 is the first major reappraisal of the end of the war for more than 20 years, and describes what is in some respects a forgotten chapter in history. The soldiers who returned to Britain in November 1918 were not the martyrs or victims of popular memory - they were a victorious army and were greeted as heroes.
"1918 A very English Victory"
The First World War followed a period of sustained peace in Europe during which people talked with confidence of prosperity, progress and hope. But in 1914, Europe walked into a catastrophic conflict which killed millions of its men, bled its economies dry, shook empires and societies to pieces, and fatally undermined Europe's dominance of the world. It was a war which could have been avoided up to the last moment - so why did it happen?
"Magisterial Book Read Brilliantly"
Few are aware of the risks that the pioneering airmen of the First World War took. On a Wing and a Prayer is a narrative history that conveys the perils of those early days, the thrills of learning to fly, and the horrors of war in the air at a time when pilots carried little defensive armament and no parachutes.
"A gem of engaging personal accounts"
The fateful quarter-century leading up to World War I was a time when the world of privilege still existed in Olympian luxury and the world of protest was heaving in its pain, its power, and its hate. The age was the climax of a century of the most accelerated rate of change in history, a cataclysmic shaping of destiny.
"A triumph of "amateur" history"
The First World War is often viewed as a war fought by armies of millions living and fighting in trenches, aided by brutal machinery that cost the lives of many. But behind all of this a scientific war was also being fought between engineers, chemists, physicists, doctors, mathematicians and intelligence gatherers. This hidden war was to make a positive and lasting contribution to how war was conducted on land, at sea, and in the air, and most importantly life at home.
"A Secret Gem"
Paralysis. Stuttering. The shakes. Inability to stand or walk. Temporary blindness or deafness. When strange symptoms like these began appearing in men at casualty clearing stations in 1915, a debate began in army and medical circles as to what it was, what had caused it and what could be done to cure it. But the numbers were never large. Then, in July 1916, with the start of the Somme battle, the incidence of shell shock rocketed.
Here are the extraordinary writings of a generation who fought through a war of unprecedented destructive power, and who had to find new voices to express the horror of what they discovered. The great names - Owen, Sassoon - are fully represented, but there are also many poems by lesser-known or unexpected figures, ranging from serving soldiers like Isaac Rosenberg and Richard Aldington to women such as Edith Nesbit and Vera Brittain.