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A World Undone [Kindle Edition]

G.J. Meyer
5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)

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Produktbeschreibungen

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Meyer sets out to integrate the war's discrete elements into a single work of popular history and delivers a worthy counterpoint to Hew Strachan's magisterial three-volume scholarly project, The First World War. A journalist and author (Executive Blues), Meyer doesn't offer original synthesis or analysis, but he does bring a clear, economical style to the war's beginnings; the gridlock produced by the successes and failures of both sides; the divided military and political counsels that hobbled efforts at resolving operational and diplomatic stalemates; and above all the constant carnage, on a scale that staggers the imagination. Meyer provides brief, useful background on subjects from the Armenian genocide to the Alsace-Lorraine question—topics he considers crucial to an understanding of the war, but too cursorily explained in most popular histories. Correspondingly, he blends "foreground, background, and sidelights" to highlight the complex interactions of apparently unconnected events behind the four-year catastrophic war that destroyed a world and defined a century. Constructing a readable, coherent text in that format is a demanding challenge, accomplished with brio. (May 30)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

One only has to look at a few of today's "hotspots" (the Balkans and the Middle East) to realize that World War I's effects remain a determining factor in international relations. It may seem impossible to write an "intimate" account of such a global catastrophe, but Meyer has succeeded in doing just that: a masterful narrative history that eloquently conveys the sense of a civilization engaged in massive self-destruction, while its leaders, blinded by hubris, nationalism, or outright ignorance, led the charge. Although Meyer pays ample attention to the broad themes of causation and military strategies, he consistently reminds us that the war was a compilation of millions of individual tragedies. He captures the horror and futility of trench warfare, the slaughter at Gallipoli, and the genocide of Armenians as experienced by those who were there. Meyer also offers interesting and controversial insights into the motivations of many of the key participants. This is an outstanding survey of a cataclysm that still casts a shadow over world affairs. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 3602 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 704 Seiten
  • Verlag: Delacorte Press (30. Mai 2006)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B000PDZFKM
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #316.650 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Von lupo
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Es hat mir Freude bereitet, diesen englischen Text zu lesen: er ist in der Mitte zwischen künstlerisch anspruchsvoll und sachlich trocken.
Die Ursachen (die ersten 100 Seiten) und dann die Schlachten des Kriegs sind ebenfalls mit einem guten Mittelweg beschrieben: ausführlich genug für ein befriedigendes Verständnis, wenn man aus Zeitgründen nicht noch tiefer in diese Materie einsteigen will.
Eingeflochten in die allgemeinen Beschreibungen der Kriegshandlungen aus Historikersicht sind viele kurz gehaltene Nacherzählungen von Berichten von einfachen Soldaten und Offizieren aus Tagebüchern und Briefen oder Büchern von Menschen, die dabei gewesen sind.
Eine sehr gute Idee sind auch die Zwischenkapitel ("Background" genannt), die Hintergrundinformationen über ein Thema geben, wenn es gerade im Text dran ist.
Meyer gibt auch gute Charakterbeschreibungen der wichtigsten Akteure, nicht zuletzt auch von Kaiser Wilhelm II. Ebenso spart er nicht an Aufdeckung von - gemäß seiner Analyse - immensen Fehlern oder unsinnigen Offensiven zusätzlich noch obendrauf zu den tragischen Verwicklungen der Ursachen des Kriegs und des Hochmuts der Politiker und Generäle aufgrund ihrer nationalistischen Gesinnungen.
Kartenmaterial ist auch vorhanden, wird aber vielleicht manchem Leser zu wenig sein.
Dieses Buch ist ein guter Mix aus politischer und militärischer Geschichte, mit leichtem Übergewicht der Politik, würde ich sagen.
Das Taschenbuch ist ein schöner, flexibler, wertig aussehender Einband.
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386 von 397 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen If you read one book about WWI, this is the one... 2. Juli 2006
Von J. Watts - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The causes of World War I were so diverse and complex, and the military strategies so intricate, that the war becomes a historian's ultimate dilemma: Write about it comprehensively and lose all but the most earnest readers, or skim the surface and don't do it justice? Mr. Meyer has found the perfect balance and tone to describe a war that was complicated, not at all glorious, and a proximate or ancillary cause of every major trouble the world has seen since. His journalistic skills serve the reader with startling immediacy, never forgetting to include the human effects of the war, so that rather than becoming an endless parade of statistics, the book is a riveting parable about a four-year train wreck of human miscalculation and arrogance in leadership, balanced by unbelievable heroism in the ranks. As I write this, the American nation is still embroiled in a seven year war in Iraq and Afghanistan that has killed 5,000 American soldiers so far. That was a typical DAY in World War I. Our modern 24 hour cable news cycle will (thankfully) just not permit the kind of carnage that the generals in World War I so casually created. Also of great interest are Mr. Meyer's short background articles, on subjects like Kaiser Wilhelm, the Junkers, the Cossacks, etc, which give the reader a real grounding in the flavor of the times, and are fascinating in their own right.

Our leaders today are, like Tom Brokaw, agog over World War II, and the generation that won it. A shame. The war they really need to take lessons from is World War I, and Meyer's book is what they should read. This book is a triumph of history with the narrative pace of a novel. Don't miss it.

I suggest readers who want to go deeper into World War I book-end this volume with The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, and Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, by Margaret Macmillan.
61 von 61 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen An narrative of the Great War that truly is a story. 5. Februar 2008
Von hintersteppe - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
The first chapter of the book "A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918" by G.J. Meyer begins with a detailed narrative of that fateful date in Sarejevo when an Austrian archduke and his wife are gunned down by a nineteen year-old Serbian nationalist. I was alarmed when I realized that this entire chapter was strikingly identical to the first chapter of Edmond Taylor's "The Fall of the Dynasties, 1905-1922", which is one of my favorite but an oft-overlooked work of the time period. Thus, I was not surprised when I turned to Meyer's bibliography and found Taylor's work cited as a source for this chapter. At that point, I was fearful that "A World Undone" was going to be nothing more than a pitiful mashing of previous historical works relating to the time period (similar to Joseph Persico's "Eleventh Hour, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Month.")

Despite the frequency of texts throughout Meyer's book with stark similarity to existing literature, "A World Undone" does have several redeeming qualities. The author does provide some analyses that deviate from the status quo, such as depicting Moltke the younger as the executor of an impossibly doomed Schleiffen Plan rather than the meddler who transformed an intrinsic path towards victory into defeat. Meyer also balances the traditional views of the Great War with contemporary accounts that have emerged in the last decade, such as his acknowledgement of the Entente's self-delusion that Germany's casualties were substantially greater than their own, when in fact the opposite was true (as cited by John Mosier's "The Myth of the Great War").

In spite of the original analyses and acceptance of theses from contemporary historians, no quality of Meyer's book distinguishes it more than the fact that it is an overview of the entire Great War written not as a study but as a story. The Great War already has some great studies of the war, such as works by A.J.P. Taylor or a recent one by John Keegan, but Meyer manages to retell the events of the Great War as they occurred without completely seperating them from the happenings occuring on other fronts or other theaters at the time. Studies of the Great War may note that the Battle of the Somme began and ended while the latter half of the Battle of Verdun was raging, but such works usually discuss them individually and thus extract them from other occurances at the time period. In Meyer's account, however, it is much easier for the reader to perceive that the fighting in the Somme, at Verdun, or in Galicia occurred simultaneously in 1916 rather than individually.

For novices on the subject of the Great War, Meyer's "Background" sections to subjects relating to the Great War add a significant amount of depth to the conflict. However, I was disappointed that "A World Undone" gave little more than a passing mention to battles beyond Europe or the Middle East, such as ignoring the successful resistance of Lettow-Vorbeck's askari soldiers in German East Africa beyond the armistice. Indeed, the ommission or bare-mention of the fighting in Africa, Asia, and on the seas beyond Europe may cause those new to the subject to wonder if the Great War was indeed a "world war" or nothing more than a massive European calamity.

Furthermore, I found past classical works relating to the war (e.g. Tuchman's "The Guns Of August", Hornes' "The Price of Glory", Taylor's "The Fall of the Dynasties"--all cited by Meyer) to be generally more eloquently written (but often less broad in scope), while the analyses provided by AJP Taylor and John Keegan in their respective works to be more thorough.

Although "A World Undone" is not the definitive work of the war that has produced some our best nonfiction and fiction literature, it should by no means be ignored by students of that conflict.
86 von 89 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen FANTASTIC!!! 20. Februar 2007
Von Cap Garland - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
If only every history book was written by G.J. Meyer! 'A World Undone' is a fantastic read; I could not have imagined a single book could paint such a thorough picture of the Great War. I could not put this book down.

I have read other volumes, including 'The First World War', 'The Guns of August', even 'World War One For Dummies'! But this is the absolute best of the lot, providing background history on the major players and combatants, and numerous glimpses into the personal lives of the leaders and soldiers of the day. It is these 'background essays' that make this history so much more enjoyable, so much more readable, that I was very disappointed when I came to the end. Most history books leave you needing a break, but 'A World Undone' left me wishing for a second volume.
38 von 40 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Really Well Done; Creative; Shallow in Spots 8. Februar 2011
Von Dr. Philip J. Kinsler - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
G. W. Meyer takes on an enormous task in this book. He tries to tell not just what happened leading up to and through WWI, but the important historical background to give the events context. He pairs a Background chapter with what we can call each 'Events' chapter. This is an extremely creative way to write about what is already a huge tableau. It provides the unfamiliar reader some context, but is inevitably frustrating to those who have gone deeper. By the structure of the work, Meyer has taken on the task, for example, of summarizing the over 1000 year history of the Hapsburg Empire in ten or fifteen pages. So, over-generalizations and the occasional plain error creep in. For an example, at one point Meyer states that Russia had never been made to compromise with other European states--apparently glossing over their defeats by Napoleon and the entire Crimean War. These grate on the reader who has read more on each of these Background chapters.

That being said, in a book for a general audience for whom this is perhaps their first introduction to European history of the period, this is an enormous achievement. Meyer takes a lens from far above what is happening, attempting to show the over-arching reasons why certain things happened. He is more likely to discuss the idea of Ludendorff creating a flexible defense, rather than having troops in a rigid and fixed front line, than he is to talk about what happened at a certain hill or dale. You get the overview--why were the Germans almost successful in 1918 after years of stalemate--rather than they took this town or this fort. When a city is mentioned, he tells you why this place was important. For example, Amiens is where most of the French Railways came together and had the town been lost, France would not have been able to move troops and might have needed an armistice.

The book reads easily and crisply. Meyer never loses sight of the enormous human cost of each campaign, and often puts this in a modern context--Losses for both sides in Passchendale were 3 times or 6 times (the detail escapes me at this moment) what the U.S. lost in the entire Vietnam War. He provides interesting and useful character sketches of the major players, each of whom has of course spawned multiple full length biographies.

If you've done no reading on this subject, this book is highly recommended. I passed it on to my wife who is explicitly NOT interested in history, thinking that this way of telling the story of the cosmic changes wrought by this period might actually grab her.

For those who want to go deeper, certainly Barbara Tuchman's 'Guns of August' is a masterpiece. John Keegan's 'The First World War' is excellent on the military side. For those who are interested in how and why the apparently mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed, Frederic Morton has two wonderful books, 'A Nervous Splendor' covering the late 1800's, and 'Thunder at Twilight' covering that Empire in 1913-14.

World War I was the death knell of one kind of civilization and the launching of several competing models of other ways to organize a national community. It deserves study, and this work is an excellent start.
22 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen THE AUTHOR MEET HIS GOAL WITH THIS ONE - A JOB WELL DONE! 27. September 2006
Von D. Blankenship - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In his introduction, the author states "It has long seemed to me that practically all popular histories of the Great War assume too much, expect too much of the reader, and therefore leave too much unexplained."
He further states, "My final objective, and not the least of my objectives, has been to offer this story in the most readable form possible and thereby to do justice to its inherent drama." The author has more than meet his goals here, much more. This is one of the most readable accounts of the First World War I have read (and there have been many, many of those). The author's style is smooth, his research very accurate and detailed and he has been able to cram a surprisingly large amount of information in to a relatively small volume (small when compaired to many others now setting on my shelf). The author examens the root causes of the war and addresses this complex situation quite well in a comprehensive manner. For those of you that are familiar with the situation or situations that exsisted at that time, you will know that is is no easy matter! The author has followed developments step by step and organized his material in a way that is actually easy to follow and is far from boring. Even though the author does use body counts and statistics throughout the book, he pulls this off in a way that you actually understand the horror of the situation, what price the people paid then, and what price we are still paying to this very day. Now I will admit that there are many books out there with more detail...for goodness sakes, there are volumes and volumes written about each and every single battle in this conflict that started in 1914 and did not end until 1918. This is probably one of the most written about events in human history. But dispite those many tombs, few, if any, clarify the situations such as this author has done. For those interest in further study, more details, more statistics, there are certainly a lot of fields out there to plow. I have to agree with the reviewer that stated that if you only read one book on this war, this would be the one you should choose. I also like the way the illustrations, photos and maps were spread throughout the book rather than into one, two or there sections. I highly recommend this work and further recommend you add it to your library as you will no doubt want to give it a reread at a later date. Thank you Mr. Meyer!
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