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Summary

It was to be the war to end all wars, and it began at 11:15 on the morning of June 28, 1914, in an outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire called Sarajevo. It would officially end nearly five years later. Unofficially, however, it has never ended: Many of the horrors we live with today are rooted in the First World War.

The Great War left millions of civilians and soldiers maimed or dead. It also saw the creation of new technologies of destruction: tanks, planes, and submarines; machine guns and field artillery; poison gas and chemical warfare. It introduced U-boat packs and strategic bombing, unrestricted war on civilians and mistreatment of prisoners. But the war changed our world in far more fundamental ways than these.

In its wake, empires toppled, monarchies fell, and whole populations lost their national identities. As political systems and geographic boundaries were realigned, the social order shifted seismically. Manners and cultural norms; literature and the arts; education and class distinctions; all underwent a vast sea change.

©1994 Martin Gilbert (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about The First World War

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Awful narrator

Good book ruined by a boring, uninteresting sounding narrator. A real shame as Martin Gilbert is a great author.

7 people found this helpful

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A fine book spoilt by a poor narrator!

A fine book by a great historian. Although Mr Clark’s delivery leaves much to be desired, his biggest fault is his mispronunciation of the names of places, battles and people! How is it that his efforts were not checked by someone with even an elementary knowledge of the history being mangled. Sir Martin must be appalled?

3 people found this helpful

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An excellent book with a sub-par narrator.

This book doesn’t really warrant much comment: it’s a well known and informative work referenced by historians to this day. The narrator however makes me with they’d asked me. I’d have done it for free and would have pronounced the people and places correctly! The divide between simple words he mispronounces and relatively obscure foreign words or place names that he gets correct is perplexing. (It’s Haig, as in Hey-g! Not High-g!)

2 people found this helpful

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Absolutely brilliant listening

Loved it, its the ultimate comprehensive history of the first world war, narrator is exceptional loved all 30+ hours of it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • PD
  • 03-09-20

Ruined by the Narrator!

It's already been said been said, but for me, to pronounce Sir Douglas Haig, High-g and Ferdinand Foch, Fock is completely unforgivable. A real shame.

1 person found this helpful

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Wow

Highly recommend! Maybe the most pointless waste of life in human history, give it a go

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Moving, emotional and incredibly thorough

Intricate detail interwoven with hundreds of first hand accounts. An excellent and powerful description of the First World War.

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  • troy a myers
  • 27-07-20

Unbiased true facts of the first world war

I found this book truly enlightening. Being an American marine corps veteran and seeking to understand the causes of war i found this book very educational. The history of the tragedies of Europe have helped me identify why Americans aren’t able to fully understand the cost of war. And the causes of current strife

4 people found this helpful

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  • Joseph
  • 03-08-20

The narative was excellent, the performer was just

Mr. Gilbert's narrative starts a bit slow but soon builds into a well researched history. I especially appreciated the increased detail on the participation of the United States military and the relationships between Petan, Haig and, Pershing. Mr. Clark's narration leaves something to be desired. His frequent use of alternative pronunciations for many people and place names is unsettling. I'm not sure who may be responsible for preparing the pronunciation key for the narrator needs to do a better job. The Russian city is spelled Archangel NOT Archangle.

1 person found this helpful

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  • JOHN M SNARSKI
  • 23-10-20

Good perspective history, terrible narrator

This huge story is thoughtfully told by Martin Gilbert and keeps your interest with a combination of grand strategic military topics and personal stories. The narrator seems determined to mispronounce as many names as he can. Foch, Haig, Archangel and Cavell are just a few. Just occasionally he drops his pompous mispronunciations and uses the correct pronunciation. This is a small issue but it becomes very annoying over the 33 1/2 hours of listening.