World War One : A Short History, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


In "World War One: A Short History", Norman Stone provides a terse, opinionated and wry short history of the First World War.

In 1914 a new kind of war, and a new kind of world, came about.

Fourteen million combatants died, a further twenty million were wounded, four empires were destroyed and even the victors' empires were fatally damaged.

The First World War marked a revolution in the technology of slaughter as trench warfare, artillery barrages, tanks and chemical warfare made their mark on the battlefield for the first time.

The sheer complexity and scale of the war have encouraged historians to write books on a similar scale.

But in only 140 pages, Norman Stone distils a lifetime of teaching, arguing and thinking to reframe the overwhelming disaster whose aftershocks shaped the rest of the twentieth century. "Bold, provocative and witty of the outstanding historians of our age". ("Spectator"). "Do we need another history of the First World War? The answer in the case of Norman Stone's short book is, yes - because of its opinionated freshness and the unusual, sharp facts that fly about like shrapnel". ("Literary Review"). "Exhilarating ...scintillating ...a heady cocktail". ("Observer"). "Entertaining and insightful of the handful of living historians who can write with style and wit". (Tibor Fischer, "Sunday Telegraph", Books of the Year).

Norman Stone is one of Britain's most celebrated historians.

He is the author of "The Eastern Front, 1914-1917", "Hitler: An Introduction", "Europe Transformed" and "The Atlantic and its Enemies".

He has taught at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bilkent, where he is now Director of the Turkish-Russian Centre.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages, Illustrations, maps, port.
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General & world history
  • ISBN: 9780141031569



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A flowing, easy read that gives an overview of the operations and battles of the First World War, whilst also explaining the politics and people that were to influence it's outcome, particularly focusing on the generally inept leaders who wasted life and had little concept of how to strategize or lead. Most of the book is dedicated to the ebb and flow of a mostly immobile war, and having read it I still feel that I am not entirely certain as to what caused the war in the first place. The excellent final chaper, 'Aftermath', gives an all too brief glimpse at how the end of WWI brought about the eventual WWII. The book also contains simple maps depicting the fronts, which best display how little progress was made on any front in this attritional war.

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