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World War One: A Short History

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World War One: A Short History
By Norman Stone. (Basic Books, 2009. Pg. 240. Maps.) ISBN: 978-0-4650-1368-5

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - June 22, 2009

World War One: A Short History is a general survey text that provides a brief, yet succinct, overview of World War One (1014-1918), its causes, and its aftermath. This book was written by Norman Stone, who was a Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford from 1984 to 1997 and currently teaches at Bilkent University, in Ankara, Turkey. In writing this book he has taken a complex subject and has crafted a clever and comprehensive overview without bogging the reader down with mind-numbing details.

All too often, students and their teachers give short shrift of the First World War, and give their time over to the study of the Second World War. However, without an understanding of the causes and aftermath of the First World War, it is impossible to fully grasp the causes of the second conflict. For those interesting in being brought quickly up to speed on World War One, Stone's text is an ideal study guide to understanding the key events, personages, and fundamentals of the First World War. This book is also ideal for use in general survey courses, at both the high school and college level, or 20th century history, modern warfare, and similar courses.

The information in this text is organized chronologically, beginning with an overview of what caused the outbreak of the war, and then moving onto a yearly analysis of the war, as well as providing a survey of its immediate and long-term aftermath. The text also includes five maps detailing the various fronts and how they changed throughout the war, as well as a map of Europe at the onset of the conflict. Stone has also included a short list of sources that will prove useful to anyone interested in delving deeper into the intricacies of this pivotal conflict.

I've read numerous books on World War I, and World War One: A Short History does seem to cover all the salient points of the conflict. However, due to its brevity, it does not go into detail, which makes this book ideal for anyone seeking a general introduction on this conflict.

Related Reviews:

Blood in the Argonne - The "Lost Battalion" of World War I, by Alan D. Gaff.
A riveting account of the 'Lost Battalion' that separates fact from fiction, and which paints a realistic picture of what life was like in the American Army in 1918.

The Fourth Horseman: One Man's Mission to Wage the Great War in America, by Robert Koenig.
The chilling history of Dr. Anton Dilger, an all-American boy who became a German spy and saboteur who, in 1915, set up a secret bio-weapons lab in Washington, D.C. in order to grow anthrax to kill as many horse and mules as he could in hopes of impeding the American war effort.

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