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Best overview of World War One available.
am 20. April 2000
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.