The First World War: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback Book

The First World War: A Very Short Introduction Paperback

Part of the Very Short Introductions series

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


By the time the First World War ended in 1918, eight million people had died in what had been perhaps the most apocalyptic episode the world had known.

This Very Short Introduction provides a concise and insightful history of the 'Great War', focusing on why it happened, how it was fought, and why it had the consequences it did.

It examines the state of Europe in 1914 and the outbreak of war; the onset of attrition and crisis; the role of the US; the collapse of Russia; and the weakening and eventual surrender of the Central Powers.

Looking at the historical controversies surrounding the causes and conduct of war, Michael Howard also describes how peace was ultimately made, and the potent legacy of resentment left to Germany.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.

These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160 pages, numerous maps and halftones
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General & world history
  • ISBN: 9780199205592



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Several things that I read, watched, or ran across last year led me to think that my education was woefully inadequate about the First World War. So I determined that in 2010, I was going to remedy that. I asked for suggestions, reviewed recommendations, and in general, kept my eyes out for books that would qualify. This book, however, particularly caught my eye. I am not a historian by any stretch of the imagination, and I concluded that my best bet would be to start with a book that explained the whole thing in general before I started looking at specifics. I could not have picked a more perfect initial book.The title of this book includes "A Very Short Introduction," and that's what it is. At just over 100 pages, it gives the basics of the war, and little else. The writing style is just right, not too heavy and not too light. I came out of this book with the ability to look at my list of WWI recommendations and sort them by year/battle/event, so when I'm ready for another WWI book, I can choose wisely and not just read randomly. For my purposes, this was the perfect start to what I hope will be a fascinating adventure.