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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Best overview of World War One available.
Though not a military history (I'd rely on John Keegan's magisterial new book for that), Ferguson's bold and beautifully written revisionist argument is indispensable. I teach a course (at the community college level here in California) on the First and Second World Wars, and have found myself integrating more and more of Ferguson's material in the past year. BY FAR...
Veröffentlicht am 20. April 2000 von Hugo Schwyzer

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Provacative, but not necessarily right.
This is supposed to be a revisionist book about World War I. Around page 1 the author, Niall Ferguson, announces that he is going to correct 10 major myths about the war. (Or, at least, provide a final refutation of those myths.) Although the book is well written, and the arguments clear, I am not certain that the goal of the author is obtained. First, scholars have...
Veröffentlicht am 28. April 1999 von Steven Zoraster


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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Best overview of World War One available., 20. April 2000
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Hugo Schwyzer (Pasadena, CA USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Though not a military history (I'd rely on John Keegan's magisterial new book for that), Ferguson's bold and beautifully written revisionist argument is indispensable. I teach a course (at the community college level here in California) on the First and Second World Wars, and have found myself integrating more and more of Ferguson's material in the past year. BY FAR the best material is in the chapter "The Death Instinct: Why Men Fought" -- though it will make some readers uncomfortable, it helped me to understand the strange joy in killing that I find seeping through in the words of supposedly anti-war writers such as Sassoon and Graves. All in all, a bit unwieldy, but provocative, useful, and scholarly.
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7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen first class writing, 25. September 2003
undoubtedly the best WWI book written since a very long time. i would not call it provocative, but it is certainly rousing crusted schoolbook doctrine - and this is both, healthy as well as stimulating. beside this, it is also profoundly elaborated. for conservative minds it might be even unsavory, because it's 'uncomfortable'. good so. no serious future WWI discussion is imaginable without the previous lecture of this book. thanks god - there are still people out there, who don't believe everything what grandpa has told us all. furthermore, i have to say (as an austrian), that this book could have never been written by a german or austrian, but a british.
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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen N.Ferguson: the backseat driver of history, 9. Juni 1999
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jur.simonis@wxs.nl (The Hague, the Netherlands) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Pity of War (Gebundene Ausgabe)
In 'The Pity of War' Niall Ferguson attempts to correct the traditional view that militaristic Germany dragged the rest of Europe into the First World War. The power of Ferguson's argumentation is the scope of the material he uses. Deftly he switches from pre-war children's books that speculate about a German invasion in Britain to an overview of the military strength of the different European nations at the eve of the war. Whatever aspect of the war he discusses, he is always authoritative. (At times even too much so. Ferguson's speciality is financial and economical analysis. In the chapter on the aftermath of the Versailles treaty, Ferguson arrogantly pretends to know how Germany could have prevented the hyperinflation of the 1920's. Niall Ferguson as the backseat driver to history.). The book is so full of nuance and so well-researched that I was shocked when I arrived at the final chapter 'What if?' Ferguson describes what would have happened, had Britain not sent its expeditionary force to aid the french. According to Ferguson, Germany would then have been satisfied with creating a European customs union (the EU avant la lettre), Britain would have continued to rule the waves and Adolf Hitler would never have risen to power. This ill-founded speculation may have helped to get the author media attention, but it certainly is a blemish on an otherwise very powerful book. Forget the final five pages and concentrate upon the rest.
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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A provocative revisionist history, 20. März 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Pity of War (Gebundene Ausgabe)
This is an extremely interesting and thought-provoking book, written by a young and industrious historian who seems to be striving for A.J.P. Taylor-hood. Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War is basically a Euro-skeptical history of Britain's part in the First World War. He argues that there was no reason for Britain to get involved in the war in 1914; that Britain's intervention turned what might have been a brief and victorious war for the Germans into a European catastrophe; that this catastrophe caused the "short twentieth century," from the outbreak of war to the fall of communism; that the short twentieth century was a bloody detour through war and totalitarianism, ending in the result that the Germans were aiming at in 1914, viz. German hegemony in a united Europe; and that by trying to stop Germany Britain only ruined itself and caused the death of millions, directly and indirectly. In a nutshell, since things turned out the same in the end, only worse, it was a pity that Britain intervened in the war.
Obviously, this is a book that could not have been written ten years ago, before the collapse of communism pressed an historical reset button. One of things that makes Ferguson's book so interesting is the way post-communist events seem to have influenced his view of the past. One sees the United States' victory in the Cold War arms race behind his argument that Germany should have spent more on arms before 1914. One also sees the herds of Iraqis surrendering to the Coalition forces in the Gulf War behind his discussion of the importance of surrendering and prisoner-taking. As a result, Ferguson may have written the first twenty-first century history of the twentieth century's most important conflict.
I didn't agree with many of the things Ferguson says in his book, but I did find it consistently engrossing and challenging. It was a refreshing book that made me re-examine just about everything I have ever learned about the First World War, and I recommend it highly.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Great collection of essays, 25. Juni 2000
This book doesn't necessarily hang together as a coherent unit, but it is an excellent collection of essays about the Great War. Trying to make sense of the slaughter of millions of young men for absolutely no reason and no cause is certainly difficult, and the author should be commended for allocating the blame equitably among the butchers, particularly the U.K. As an American, it's taken for granted in history fed to kids growing up that we were on the right side and that we had a reason for being involved in that senseless orgy of death. So it's nice to see an account of some of the major issues that cuts through the propaganda and assigns the proper blame to Britain and fat, old, stupid, drunken idiots like Churchill who had no problem sending an entire generation to die for no good reason.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Finally, an objective view of 'The Great War', 29. Juli 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Pity of War (Gebundene Ausgabe)
In my early high school years I took an interest in military history, particulary WW I and II. I foolishly mentioned to my father that as there were some 40 steps to WW I, and both sides had opportunities to step back from the precipice, all were equally culpable for the carnage. I was almost beaten for that, as both my parents lost three uncles and my grandfather was wounded three times fighting the Huns. My parents therefore had a vested interest in propogating the myth that these sacrifices were made to protect freedom and democracy.
Niall Ferguson's book takes aim at several myths about WW I and integrates several ideas in one volume. Several have been addressed before in other forums to better effect, and he has missed, I think some salient points. These include the British desire (under Churchill, no less) to maintain total naval supremacy in the face of the German Navy's dreadnoght buildup. British intelligence also failed to anticipate German chemical research success in fixing nitrates from the atmosphere to produce explosives. This allowed German industry to continue to operate at full capacity despite the blockade.
Ferguson's industrial and economic capabilies are very consistent with those found in Paul Kennedy's 'Rise and Fall of the Great Powers' (1987), but Kennedy says it better.
The perception of war by the public before and during WW I is quite enlightening, as is his conclusion that some men actually enjoyed the killing. There is much anecdotal evidence to support this. For many men war is the only time that they achieve any importance or success, and they fade into obscurity afterwards. Although a different war and front, picture Sgt Steiner from 'Cross of Iron' and you've got the picture.
In sum, Pity of War is an extremely well researched tome that attempts to dispel some of our most cherished myths. I can only give it 4 stars due to its occassional lack of focus. It is required reading for any politician considering sending soldiers, sailors, or airmen into battle.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Killing became an end in itself., 26. Juni 1999
Von 
Wallace F. Smith (Walnut Creek, CA USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Pity of War (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Ferguson's courageous history of the first world war explains how sadistic, relentless killing quickly became an end in itself. And WWI led directly to worse barbarity and terror, so that in 1999 the world faces virtually the same problem in the Balkans which existed in 1914. In explaing how the first great war came about Ferguson stands head and shoulders above the "victor's historians" who fill the textbooks and befuddle political leaders. He finds much to blame conservative British leadership for. And nothing kind to say about America's role. Unfortunately - and this is not Ferguson's fault - he cannot explain how the pointless savagery could have been avoided or cut short. Senseless murder may simply be an instinct; if so, it's time for all of us to face up to that. Forget heroics; war, like all murder, is failure. There are no "good wars." The value of Ferguson's effort cannot be overstated, but it is only a beginning.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen good provocative history but a doubtful central premise, 8. Juni 1999
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G. Glick (Pittsburgh-born) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Pity of War (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Covers lots of ground. Generally reliable EXCEPT--and a big EXCEPT--for his central assertion that the Britain blundered wrongly into war. Given the 18th and 19th century Britishdetermination to prevent the continent being dominated by a single power, how Ferguson could conceive of a Britain accepting German dominance over Europe in 1914 is inconceivable.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Provacative, but not necessarily right., 28. April 1999
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Steven Zoraster (Austin, Texas USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Pity of War (Gebundene Ausgabe)
This is supposed to be a revisionist book about World War I. Around page 1 the author, Niall Ferguson, announces that he is going to correct 10 major myths about the war. (Or, at least, provide a final refutation of those myths.) Although the book is well written, and the arguments clear, I am not certain that the goal of the author is obtained. First, scholars have recognized some of those myths as myths for decades. These certainly include the first two: The myth that war was inevitable due to economic rivalries, imperialism, secret military alliances, or an arms race; and the myth that Germany started the war because the German government felt strong relative to other European powers.
Second, while his attack on some other myths are analytically convincing, Mr. Ferguson fails to provide convincing non-analytical explanations for why his numbers come out the way they do. For example, he argues that contrary to the standard myth, the German army was tactically and operationally superior to the armies of Britain, France and the United States clear through to the end of the war in 1918. His evidence essentially is that - ignoring surrender - the average German soldier killed or wounded more than 1 enemy soldier before he himself was killed or wounded. I believe the authors numbers, but I really didn't learn why they turned out the way they did. Yes, the German's developed better tactics for both attack and defense in trench warfare than their enemies, but why? Certainly their enemies tried hard to come up with good answers to those same problems, but failed. Again, why? Class structure is one reason on the part of the British is one reason cited, but I suspect that there must be more to it than that.
Third, at least the one myth I completely believe Mr. Ferguson demolished, is sort of a "so what?" While not one of his ten big myths, the author proves through quotes from letters, memoirs, and from other sources, that many soldiers from both sides who tried to surrender were killed (read "murdered") after surrendering. This really should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the military history of this century. There are many documented cases of how dangerous surrender could be during World War II and the Anglo-Boer war. (Try Paul Fussells' Doing Battle, or one of Stephen Ambrose's books about World War II for example, or any first-person account of the World War II eastern front. Or, just talk to a Vietnam era veteran who was in the infantry.)
Actually, there is a 11th myth that Dr. Ferguson attacks in "The Pity of War" that has received the most attention from other historians and reviewers. That "myth" is that Great Britain had to participate in the war to prevent Germany from dominating continental Europe, and thereby destroying its role as a great power. Ferguson argues that the original war aims of Germany in the west were relatively benign, and that after quickly defeating a France unaided by Great Britain, the Germans would have imposed heavy monetary reparations of France, and then restored independence to both Belgium and France. At worst, Germany would have forced both countries, along with much of central Europe into an economic union, not much different and not much more dangerous to Britain than the German-centered European Union that exists today.
In defense of this 11th myth, Ferguson points out that German plans for serious annexations of territory, such as all of Belgium and the Northwest of France, were not formulated until the war was a couple of months old. There are problems with this argument. The most obvious to me, is that although France would have lost the war without the aid of Great Britain, the logistic problems encountered by the German army during the opening phase of the war meant it would have taken France several months to lose. Those several months would have given the Germans plenty of time to decide that they deserved both territorial and political rewards for their war against France. So, even a short war won by Germany would have left them as the type of people you don't want as neighbors. Especially if you are the center of an empire based on sea power, and your new neighbors are going to control ports just on the other side of the English Channel.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen More essays than a book, 10. März 1999
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Pity of War (Gebundene Ausgabe)
This is a rather strange book. It is like a series of essays on various aspects of the First World War. The author aims at dispelling several of what he sees as myths about the conflict. These are (1)That Militarism played a big part in the war breaking out. (2)That the war was popular (3)That Germany wanted the war (4)That Germany used its economic resources badly in the war (5)That starvation led to the collapse of the central powers (6)That fighting men found their life intolerable
Some of the book is interesting and well argued. Some of it now is reasonably well accepted generally. For instance a number of commentators have accepted that the weakness of Germany was one reason for the war. Russia at the time of the war was completing an armaments program and a railway system which would bring its armies to Germanys borders within a short time. War for Germany in 1914 was seen as regrettable but better than facing a much stronger army in a few more years.The arguments about the amount of money that each of the nations spent on arms is interesting. The author suggests strongly that if any country was obsessed with the military it was France rather than Germany.
Other parts of the book are less well argued. It is clear that the war led to a mixed response from those who fought in it. Some such as Ernst Junger found it the most important experience in their life. In England it has generally been accepted that the high casualties brought widespread disillusionment. The book tries to argue that most who served in the war either enjoyed it or where not to negatively effected. To do this the writer lists a number of books that came out of he war which were jingoistic and patriotic.
This however is superficial. Germans emerged from the war feeling reasonably positive about it. They had generally been successful. After the war large numbers of Germans joined the Friekorps units putting down left wing rebellions and trying to preserve the German borders against the newly independent states set up after the war. The allies however had spent most of the war losing.
If one reads any account of the Second World War the it is clear the effect that the First had on military thought. Canada who as a dominion sent the largest contingent to Europe in the First War refused to send a significant number of troops in the second. They instead assisted England by the provision of convey escorts. England itself built up its air force as an alternative to fighting a land war in Europe. If one reads the biographies of English military commanders there was a real fear of putting their men through the sorts of experiences that they as junior officers had gone through in the first war.
The book is interesting to anyone who is familiar with the war but would probably be incomprehensible to someone who picks it up as their first book on the war.
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