One of the more recent books to provide a good overview of the entire war. Keegan's great strength is his ability to create a compelling narrative of a complex conflict, allowing the reader to gain a clearer understanding of what happened, and why.
One strong feature of the book is Keegan's understanding of just how limited communications could be at this time. During any intense period of fighting, the front line could be virtually cut off from HQ. For Keegan this explains some of the failures on the western front more convincingly than the more familiar image of lions being led by donkeys, although he does find his fair share of donkeys!
Keegan also gives you a good impression of the scale of the war. If not quite as convincingly global as the Second World War, the Great War still saw conflict all across Europe, in Africa and the Middle East and in just about every ocean. It saw the first use of the aircraft in war, the first strategic bombing and the first fighter aces. It saw the appearance of the tank and the end of a century of acknowledged British naval supremacy around the world.
Author: John Keegan
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