Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: The War to End All Wars

The War to End All Wars: World War I
Russell Freedman
2010; Clarion Books; ISBN 978-0-547-02686-2 (hardcover)

Summary: World War I was originally known as the Great War. At the time, no one could conceive a conflict more terrifying, more destructive. After the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, a network of alliances started a war marked by failures of diplomacy, advanced weapons of great power, and the use of outdated military tactics. By the end of the war, with the signing of an armistice on November 11, 1918, 65 million men had gone to war--with over 35 million killed, wounded, missing or taken prisoner. And World War I would continue to impact the world beyond the end of the hostilities.

It's often been said that to understand the Roaring Twenties, World War II, or the Middle East Conflict, you must understand World War I. By reading Russell Freedman's thorough work, readers gain that understanding. With words and photographs, the horrors of trench warfare, mustard gas, and civilian casualties are vividly presented. And while the war created many innovations such as tanks, the costs were much too high as explained in The War to End All Wars. Pair this nonfiction title with fictional coverage such as Hattie Big Sky to show what life was like on the home front.

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