The First World War created the modern world. A conflict of unparalleled ferocity far beyond its European epicentre, it broke the century of relative peace and prosperity which we associate with the Victorian era. It unleashed both the demons of the twenieth century - pestilence, military destruction and mass death - and the ideas which continue to shape our world today - modernism in the arts, new approaches to psychology and medicine, and radical ideas about economics and society. An event of this scale and complexity needs a great historian to portray it, and in his new book, John Keegan fulfils a life-long ambition to write the definitive book on the war. It was of course foremost a fascinating new interpretations of the military events. But the war also acted as a formidable engine for social change throughout the world, and this too is brilliantly conveyed in Keegan's fascinating and magisterial work.
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Magisterial in its scope, beautifully written and literally unputdownable... I cannot recommend Keegan's book too highly. - Scotsman
Nobody describes a battle as Keegan does, vividly relating the unfolding events to the contours of the field of combat... This book is a kind of war memorial. As first-hand memory fades, The First World War honours the dead as only true history can. - Sunday Times
John Keegan's The First World War can take its place alongside the other defining works he has written... The best and most approachable introduction to the war. - Guardian
A splendidly readable account of the war on all fronts, from its political and cultural origins to its bloody conclusion... Compelling. - Financial Times
Excellent... The First World War tells the story with passion, sanity and the military historian's eye for overall strategy. - Mail on Sunday
John Keegan is the Defence Editor of the Daily Telegraph and Britain's foremost military historian. The Reith Lecturer in 1998, he is the author of many bestselling books including The Face of Battle, Six Armies in Normandy, Battle at Sea, The Second World War, A History of Warfare (awarded the Duff Cooper Prize), Warpaths, The Battle for History, Intelligence in War and, most recently, The Iraq War. For many years John Keegan was the Senior Lecturer in Military History at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and he has been a Fellow of Princeton University and Delmas Distinguished Professor of History at Vassar. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He received the OBE in the Gulf War honours list, and was knighted in the Millennium honours list in 1999. John Keegan died in August 2012.