Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

HIST: Discussions about the last 4000 years of history, give or take a few days.

Moderators: Thanas, K. A. Pital

Post Reply
User avatar
Mr Bean
Lord of Irony
Posts: 22064
Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am

Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Mr Bean » 2012-09-14 06:16pm

This is a simple request. I'm going on a foreign excision soon and that means I'll be bringing a book or three along for the eighteen hour plane ride. And it comes to me that I know little about World War 1. Not compared to say the civil war or WW2 where I can reel off the major actors, the important battles, the strategic and political situations of each year of the war, why there was a war and why it ended. Instead my knowledge of WW1 is built off of whatever the history channel taught me in the about lets say ten hours of programs I've seen about WW1 I half remember right before the history channel switched to the all Hitler all the time before switching to reality shows.

I'm looking for a book along the lines of The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote. A book that covers the politics, a book that covers the battles and a book that covers in soldiers themselves and a book I can bludgeon to death a small child if need be.

I'm asking for serious recommendations, I'm not looking for a light read here, something of sufficient length and breadth as to leave me with at least a general understanding of the war and it's key actors and something that's not been asked about in this forum per the search history.

"A cult is a religion with no political power." -Tom Wolfe
Pardon me for sounding like a dick, but I'm playing the tiniest violin in the world right now-Dalton

Blayne
On Probation
Posts: 882
Joined: 2009-11-19 09:39pm

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Blayne » 2012-09-14 08:16pm

I don't know if it covers all the elements you want but what about Liddel Hart's History of the First World War?

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30776
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Thanas » 2012-09-14 10:12pm

I would suggest either Volker Berghahn, David Stevenson or Hew Strachan for a basic read.

It is too bad that the great Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg (Hirschfeld et al) is not available in English.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

User avatar
Mr Bean
Lord of Irony
Posts: 22064
Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Mr Bean » 2012-09-15 03:53pm

Thanas wrote:I would suggest either Volker Berghahn, David Stevenson or Hew Strachan for a basic read.

It is too bad that the great Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg (Hirschfeld et al) is not available in English.
I'm looking at those three to see what I can find on Amazon.

Now then this is something that's always bugged me. Why are there such great works of history not yet available in multiple languages. I understand if Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg does not make it into Tagalog, but you think somewhere along the way some English/German speaking History buff would ask hey could I translate that book and get it published in English for a cut of the proceeds? You do after all gain access to another billion potential readers once you translate it into English (Or Chinese for that matter)

"A cult is a religion with no political power." -Tom Wolfe
Pardon me for sounding like a dick, but I'm playing the tiniest violin in the world right now-Dalton

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30776
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Thanas » 2012-09-15 07:43pm

Most get translated, but translations are costly and the publisher might not spring for another volume. Besides, everybody doing serious work on WWI might know enough German already to understand it.

Also, gaining readers is not that much of an emphasis as works like this are nearly always bought by libraries and institutions due to their high cost. Joe average is not going to spend 50-200$ on a dreary-written book that has few pictures. Only really interested people do.

Publishing is a mess.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

User avatar
Mr Bean
Lord of Irony
Posts: 22064
Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Mr Bean » 2012-09-15 08:44pm

Thanas wrote:Most get translated, but translations are costly and the publisher might not spring for another volume. Besides, everybody doing serious work on WWI might know enough German already to understand it.

Also, gaining readers is not that much of an emphasis as works like this are nearly always bought by libraries and institutions due to their high cost. Joe average is not going to spend 50-200$ on a dreary-written book that has few pictures. Only really interested people do.

Publishing is a mess.
Then what about the digital domain where publishing costs are non-existent and profit is theoretically infinite if you can sell your book as the required E-book reading for colleges courses in that subject.

"A cult is a religion with no political power." -Tom Wolfe
Pardon me for sounding like a dick, but I'm playing the tiniest violin in the world right now-Dalton

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30776
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Thanas » 2012-09-15 09:02pm

Most of those who study history - in my experience - barely read the required materials at all.

Also, publishing houses do not like ebooks as they prefer to get strangleholds.

Besides, you do not write the books to make money anyway.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

Zinegata
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2454
Joined: 2010-06-21 09:04am

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Zinegata » 2012-09-16 10:50pm

Thanas will probably hate me for this, but Keegan's First World War is one of his better books that covers the whole conflict in one sitting - covering the politics, battles, and soldier's experiences.

Not big enough to bludgeon a child to death though.

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30776
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Thanas » 2012-09-17 01:39am

Quit plugging Keegan.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

jollypillager
Redshirt
Posts: 4
Joined: 2012-09-13 08:38pm

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by jollypillager » 2012-09-17 11:58pm

The Guns of August is a fairly classic WWI book, but is somewhat limited in scope and research.

I also found Mosiers The Great War Myth to be worth the read, but be warned it's conclusions are controvertial. It's still worth reading for the statistics and the doctrinal discussions, one just needs to be a bit careful in embracing everything in here. http://www.amazon.com/The-Myth-Great-Wa ... 0060084332

User avatar
Vehrec
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2204
Joined: 2006-04-22 12:29pm
Location: The Ohio State University
Contact:

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Vehrec » 2012-09-18 08:25pm

Thanas wrote:Quit plugging Keegan.
You should probably just make a big 'why Keegan is bad and you should stop talking about him' thread. Because seriously, isn't this supposed to be the one area in which he was at least slightly competent? We need references on his many failings Thanas, I'm sure you have a list.
ImageCommander of the MFS Darwinian Selection Method (sexual)

User avatar
Thanas
Magister
Magister
Posts: 30776
Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by Thanas » 2012-09-18 08:36pm

I refer you to this - anybody who is so lacking in methodology is quite bad.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
------------
A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
------------
My LPs

CaiusWickersham
Padawan Learner
Posts: 301
Joined: 2008-10-11 08:24am

Re: Good exhaustive World War 1 History?

Post by CaiusWickersham » 2012-10-01 05:35pm

I'll throw out The Somme: The Darkest Hour on the Western Front by Peter Hart. I have the Kindle version, but there's a 624 page hardcover version (in English at least) that should suit your needs. I read through it and it's very comprehensive as to the preparation, the order of battle and just how much of a slog it was and where (and why). He's also got a book almost as thick on Gallipoli if you're interested in that one too.

Post Reply