The First World War By Hew Strachan
Finished on 2/8/2017
10 chapters detailing the history of WWI out of 5
This book is a thorough description of the major factors behind World War I, including hidden factors not commonly mentioned in other history books like the politics going on back home, the cost of food contributing to morale and the like. Of the handful of books about WWI I’ve read thus far this book is the only one which has looked at the war on the macro scale, explaining the home front as one of the most important fronts of all, if not the most important. Citing facts and figures behind wage growth v. wartime inflation, this book successfully paints a picture about why Germany, Austria-Hungry and Turkey collapsed.
Mr. Strachan provides a detailed history of the war behind the war: how Tsarist Russia collapsed and was reformed into Soviet Russia, why the Empire of Austria-Hungary collapsed after the war into the separate nations of Austria and Hungary, why the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in-particular triggered the war when the assassination of anyone else wouldn’t have done it. Where the other books I’ve read focused on troop deployments and maneuvers, this book takes a step back and addresses the war as a whole. It even mentions little anecdotes about major players of this war, like Josef Joffre being a perpetually calm gastronome or Ludendorff collapsing and foaming at the mouth when Germany starts losing the war.
I’d recommend someone just beginning their study of WWI begin with this book and move on from here.