The First World War: A Complete History

Front Cover
Henry Holt and Company, Mar 1, 2004 - History - 688 pages
31 Reviews

The acclaimed British historian offers a majestic, single-volume work incorporating all major fronts-domestic, diplomatic, military-for "a stunning achievement of research and storytelling"

(Publishers Weekly)


It was to be the war to end all wars, and it began at 11:15 on the morning of June 28, 1914, in an outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire called Sarajevo. It would end officially almost five years later. Unofficially, it has never ended: the horrors we live with today were born in the First World War.

It left millions-civilians and soldiers-maimed or dead. And it left us with new technologies of death: tanks, planes, and submarines; reliable rapid-fire machine guns and field artillery; poison gas and chemical warfare. It introduced us to U-boat packs and strategic bombing, to unrestricted war on civilians and mistreatment of prisoners. Most of all, it changed our world. In its wake, empires toppled, monarchies fell, whole populations lost their national identities as political systems, and geographic boundaries were realigned. Instabilities were institutionalized, enmities enshrined. And the social order shifted seismically. Manners, mores, codes of behavior; literature and the arts; education and class distinctions-all underwent a vast sea change. And in all these ways, the twentieth century can be said to have been born on the morning of June 28, 1914.


"One of the first books that anyone should read in beginning to try to understand this war and this century."

-The New York Times Book Review (cover)

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Review: The First World War: A Complete History

User Review  - Kristin Strong - Goodreads

Not as exhaustive as the last WWI non-fiction volume I read, but much more readable, as it intersperses personal accounts and, yes, poetry into the detailed accounts of troop movements and political machinations. Highly recommend it as at least an introduction to this intriguing era. Read full review

Review: The First World War: A Complete History

User Review  - Kristianne - Goodreads

I the Love History of WWI, and Martin Gilbert, just as in all of his books, makes the topic very interesting and entertaining to read. Some history books are drab and slow, but not Gilbert, he writes as if you are reading a fiction novel. Totally Enjoyable, As Always! Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Sir Martin Gilbert was knighted in 1995 "for services to British history and international relations." Among his many books are The Righteous (0-8050-6260-2), The Holocaust (0-8050-0348-7), The Day the War Ended (0-8050-4735-2), and Churchill: A Life (0-8050-2396-8). He lives in London, England.

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