Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 Hide
24 Posts

Wargames» Forums » Historical Context

Subject: Good general book on WW1 rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Scott Dexter
United States
Warwick
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am in the market for some good general books on WW1, not sure which are good at covering the war as a whole. Suggestions welcome.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Osprey
United States
West Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Errg...Argh..
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The First World War by Hew Strachan is an excellent general history of WWI. It also has the benefit of having a DVD that coincides with the chapters of the book that was shown on The Military Channel and is available separately. You can probably get them both from Amazon.




The DVD


2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Dexter
United States
Warwick
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oooh I do enjoy a good documentary too! Thanks
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul
Switzerland
Basel
Basel Stadt
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"Capitaine Conan," by Roger Vercel (1934).
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb



"A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918," by Meyer.

An excellent general work on the war.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darth James
United States
West Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Is the Keegan book not generally recommended here? I was going to start on that now that I've finished Guns of August since our library has a copy, but if it's not authoritative I will probably seek out one of these other books.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Lawson
United States
Rutland
Vermont
flag msg tools
Boston Redsox
badge
New England Patriots!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Keegans book is fine. thumbsup Don't get me started on The Guns of August though yuk
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul
Switzerland
Basel
Basel Stadt
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"Capitaine Conan," by Roger Vercel (1934).
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
EvilPandaPirate wrote:
Is the Keegan book not generally recommended here? I was going to start on that now that I've finished Guns of August since our library has a copy, but if it's not authoritative I will probably seek out one of these other books.


I think Meyer's book is more engaging. -2 for poor maps in the Keegan book.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul
Switzerland
Basel
Basel Stadt
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"Capitaine Conan," by Roger Vercel (1934).
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Quote:
Don't get me started on The Guns of August though...


Better literature than history for sure. Has a lot in common with Horne's "Price of Glory." Both brilliant narratives, but flawed. I remember reading this and not being to be able to put it down.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The First World War by Martin Gilbert might be a good choice.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Hecker
Australia
Kallista, jewel of the Dandenongs
Victoria
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've just finished World War One: The Global Revolution by Sondhaus, and it is the first short single-volume general history that gave a fair weighting to the position of the Austro-Hungarians. Except on the Italian front the forces of the Anglosphere didn't contact the A-H, which may explain the distortions in many English language books.

http://www.cambridge.org/academic/subjects/history/twentieth...


I'm sure you can find more in here
http://www.cambridge.org/academic/subjects/history/military-...

[ Disclosure: I work for Cambridge University Press. Hooray for staff discounts! ]

[ Edited for comprehensibility ]
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oh my God They Banned Kenny
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
In addition to some good recommendations already made I liked Liddell Hart's History of the First World War.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Gilbert's and Keegan's books are solid choices. So is James Stokesbury's "A Short History of World War I".
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
Lighthouse Beach
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
scottder wrote:
I am in the market for some good general books on WW1, not sure which are good at covering the war as a whole. Suggestions welcome.


There were no good generals in WW1.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Lawson
United States
Rutland
Vermont
flag msg tools
Boston Redsox
badge
New England Patriots!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great little book! Love the cover pic!

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Dexter
United States
Warwick
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
billyboy wrote:
Keegans book is fine. thumbsup Don't get me started on The Guns of August though yuk


OK, I have to ask now. Why yuk on the Guns of August?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Science doesn't care what you believe in
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
scottder wrote:
OK, I have to ask now. Why yuk on the Guns of August?


I wouldn't recommend Guns of August as it only covers August, 1914, not the whole war or all the fronts. As for why billyboy doesn't like it, I suspect we'll all find out in the Guns of August book club thread.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Fant
United States
Texas
flag msg tools
There are a number of general books. but thought you might like some more specific books; The Germans who never lost: The story of the Konigsberg and Swan of the East: The life and death of the German cruiser Emden in World War I both by Edwin Palmer Hoyt. I enjoyed both and learned some interesting facts.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Dexter
United States
Warwick
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Also, any recommendations on an atlas or maps for this time period?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul
Switzerland
Basel
Basel Stadt
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"Capitaine Conan," by Roger Vercel (1934).
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
scottder wrote:
Also, any recommendations on an atlas or maps for this time period?


"A Military Atlas of the First World War," by Arthur Banks

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Collins
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
One thing to be aware of is that most English language books about World War I are heavily biased toward the British Empire's viewpoint. Few Americans have written much about it, except for two aspects: the question of who started the war, and the story of American participation. French, German, Russian, Italian, Turkish and Austrian historians of WWI are scarcely represented in the English language. But the English actually lost more troops in the First World War than they did in the Second, a fact not widely known in America. So interest in that war has remained high in Britain, and many books have been written from their viewpoint.
For an overall history of the war, there are few alternatives to British books if you only read English. So beware of this bias. Old British war propaganda claims are given credence to this day, such as the claim that the Germans lost as many men as the British did at the battle of the Somme. This is a battle in which inexperienced British troops marched at German trenches through machine-gun fire, to be slaughtered by the thousands. At the time, it was necessary for the British commanders to claim that the Germans had lost as many men as they had, or they would have been seen as incompetent failures, and been fired. But such ludicrous claims are repeated today, by nationalistic Brits who just can't admit how bad their military leaders were. They are also loathe to give credit to the Americans or even the French. And the German military isn't acknowledged as outfighting everyone else for over three years (which they did). I would recommend John Mosier's book The Myth of the Great War as a corrective of the usual British bias.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Valk
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
scottder wrote:
Also, any recommendations on an atlas or maps for this time period?

"The Historical Atlas of World War I" by Livesey and Willmott. Out-of-print, but well worth finding used. Re-reading mine now - superb maps and detailed narrative.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete White
Scotland
Edinburgh
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Kevin1626 wrote:
Old British war propaganda claims are given credence to this day, such as the claim that the Germans lost as many men as the British did at the battle of the Somme. This is a battle in which inexperienced British troops marched at German trenches through machine-gun fire, to be slaughtered by the thousands. At the time, it was necessary for the British commanders to claim that the Germans had lost as many men as they had, or they would have been seen as incompetent failures, and been fired. But such ludicrous claims are repeated today, by nationalistic Brits who just can't admit how bad their military leaders were.


The Somme involved an utterly botched initial attack with terrible British (though not so many French) casualties. It also involved surprise British attacks which overran German defences (July 14th); overwhelming British superiority in artillery which pushed up German losses; over-aggressive German counter-attacks which caused the German high command to change tactics radically; and where the offensive was pushed past the point where it should have been stopped leading to excessive British casualties.

The point is that it's a complicated subject, and trotting out an old caricature doesn't help much. More usefully, be warned that the conduct of the war is madly controversial in the literature even now, and there's not really much consensus on anything.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Dexter
United States
Warwick
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LaggingEdge wrote:
scottder wrote:
Also, any recommendations on an atlas or maps for this time period?

"The Historical Atlas of World War I" by Livesey and Willmott. Out-of-print, but well worth finding used. Re-reading mine now - superb maps and detailed narrative.


Excellent, just grabbed a used copy on Amazon. Exactly what I was looking for!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.