Title: A World Undone
Author: G.J. Meyer
Read: August 2010
Summary: Highly Recommended
Doing research for the sequel to my novel I started reading a number of histories of World War I. This is simply put: an amazing single volume history of the war, its causes, and course of events (but not the post-treaty fallout). I’ve read hundreds (or more) of history books, and as single volume war histories go — this is excellent. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the world we live in, because the modern political arena was forged in World War I (far more than WWII). The often autocratic (or at least Imperialist) regiems of Europe were not prepared for what it really meant to bring the full might of post industrial powers into conflict. The last real shakeup of Europe had been a hundred years earlier with the Napoleonic wars, but the 19th century had remade the economies of the world. The clash, cataclysmic in terms of everything, ended the old world order. All of the big old autocratic states collapsed (Prussia, Russia, the Hapsburgs, the Ottomans) and even the winners were left unable to hold onto their empires. Meyer does a great job introducing the players gradually so as to not overburden the story of the war’s origins with background. It reads like a taut horror novel — and that’s pretty much what it is.
How would compare this to “The Guns of August”? (Also, not to be a pain but taught -> taut?)
Of course being a grammar nazi requires me to make a grammatical error. I should have said “How would *you* compare this to ‘The Guns of August?'”?
Guns of August covers pretty much just the causes and opening of the war. This covers through the Treaty of Versailles. GoA has more detail about the section it does cover for obvious reasons.
[…] remains of Europe’s cast system like a crystal vase dropped off the Empire State Building (HERE for some of my thoughts on that). In any case, this series is to a large extent about this particular moment, so indicative […]
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