The Great War by Peter Hart

The Great War

Named one of the Ten Best Books of 2013 by The Economist World War I altered the landscape of the modern world in every conceivable arena. Millions died; empires collapsed; new ideologies and political movements arose; poison gas, warplanes, tanks, submarines, and other technologies appeared. -Total war- emerged as a grim, mature reality. In The Great War, Peter Hart provides a masterful combat history of this global conflict. Focusing on th...

Details The Great War

TitleThe Great War
Release DateMay 9th, 2013
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, War, World War I, Military, Military History, Military Fiction

Reviews The Great War

  • Bevan Lewis
    This is a well written and engaging combat history of the war, and a recommended 'single volume' history. It is strong on the military strategy and decision making and events, interspersed with plenty of quotations from participants to avoid the story becoming too esoteric. The book doesn't focus on the social experience to the same extent as books like Martin Gilbert's The First World War: A Complete History and keeps focussed on the military sp...
  • Jason
    It is an easy thing, now nearly 100 years since the most important event of the 20th century started, to dismiss World War I as a needless, pointless exercise that solved nothing and accomplished nothing. The Great War, a Combat History of the First World War, attempts to take the reader down the path that the military decision makers walked from the years leading up to the war, to the end on Armistice Day. By doing so, the reader should be able ...
  • Gerald Churchill
    Peter Hart's "The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War" is exactly what the title states. It is a one-volume campaign history of World War I. The book covers the Western Front, the Eastern Front, the sea war, Gallipoli, the Sinai and Palestinian Fronts, the Mesopotamian Front, the Salonika Front, and the Italian Front. If you are looking for a book about the campaign in east Africa or Japan's land grab of Germany's colonies in the P...
  • Shawn Deal
    An exceptionally researched breakdown off all the military battles of note in the First World War. Very well written, with a lot of detailed accounts by the men who were there.
  • Sotiris Karaiskos
    An interesting approach to the theme of the First World War. The writer largely leaves aside the political dimension of the subject and confines itself to purely military issues. This way he gives a comprehensive picture of the war, describing in detail the major battles that shaped the final result, interfering in these exciting descriptions excerpts from the narratives of those who participated, giving us a complete picture of these battles. I ...
  • Dachokie
    Sensible Summarization of an Immensely Convoluted Series of Events This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine program which included a free advance copy of the book.The historical significance of World War I is often lost in the rubble left by its cataclysmic offspring World War II. But, the Great Wars impact on the world is profound, not only as politically setting the stage for the Second World War, but as a proving-ground for weaponry an...
  • Adil Ehsan
    I was very interested to read this as I am a major fan of the military history of World War 2 and believed this would be an excellent precursor to better understanding that conflict and the development of military doctrine as a whole. After all arguably no other war as much radical change as the great War from the widespread use of chemical weapons, airplanes, trench warfare, machine guns and armor to name a few. It's understandable therefore tha...
  • Jerome
    A solid military history of the First World War. Harts writing is clear if somewhat dry and includes a good number of first-hand recollections; Harts work includes a large number of lengthy first-hand accounts, which may annoy some but these are usually well-chosen and interesting. While he does include the deliberations of the various commanders, Hart mainly looks at the war through the eyes of the soldiers. Hart is good at analyzing strategic d...
  • Chuck
    This isn't a bad history of WW1, though it is limited. As the subtitle says, it's a combat history. Hart's perspective is that of a conservative British nationalist. For example, he is a big fan of Haig and Jellicoe, two figures who are heavily criticized by many historians. When I say he's a nationalist, I mean that he tends to interpret events from the point of view of Great Britain. For example, take the naval Battle of Jutland. Most historian...
  • Windsor
    I really couldn't stand the first 100 pages of this book. WAY too many full page quote descriptions. I understand why the author did that (it is an insanely hard war to understand if you do not) but wow it's insanely hard to read at points. Overall, I love this book though. Great analysis and description. I love the quotes (insert laughter here) at the beginning of each chapter. Really brings to fruition the horror of a war which, in a lot of way...
  • Mac McCormick III
    The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War by Peter Hart is exactly what the title indicates, it is a combat history of the war."In this book, we will look at the whys and wherefores of the military conduct of the Great War in an attempt to discern what was really going on, rather than attempt to reference every political, social, or artistic movement."Unlike other World War I histories I've read, Hart's book focuses on the military a...
  • Peter
    Readable history at its very best. A "Must Have" book.
  • John Bellamy
    This is a very odd book. As a summary narrative of the major armed encounters of World War I, most especially and quite properly the unspeakable carnage of the Western Front, it is as good as anything Ive read on the subject over the past three decades. And Harts generous inclusion of excerpts from first-person accounts of the various conflicts brings a very human dimension to his tale of cumulatively numbing woes. What many readers, and most emp...
  • Bob H
    This, in broad overview, is a history of the Great War, focused on the military aspects: the maneuvers, the tactical innovations, the bloody failures. It breaks down the different theaters and time-lines in understandable portions: eastern front, western front, the war at sea, the Balkans, the Middle East, year by year. The frequent use of vivid first-person accounts is helpful and always on point. The naval and air wars get their due mention, as...
  • Louise
    Another insightful and comprehensive book by historian and author Peter Hart.
  • Markus
    Fascinating read of the horrors of WW1. The interwoven personal accountants of the participants of the various events were especially interesting.
  • Aaron Crofut
    A solid overview of the military history of the First World War. If the topic is new to you, this would be an excellent place to start. Hart does a good job undermining the myth of incompetent generals careless of the lives of their men. They actually did try to find innovative ways of accomplishing their job without slaughter of their charges, but a host of factors made that practically impossible. One could respond that the generals should have...
  • Anson Cassel Mills
    Peter Harts fine single volume is not (as the subtitle makes clear) a general history of World War I but a survey of its combat history. Except for the opening chapter, the book pays comparatively little attention to the political and economic forces that shaped the war and concentrates rather on its strategic and tactical aspects, especially by including within its solid narrative many well selected, first person accounts of combatants high and ...
  • Lloyd
    This book is a military history of the First World War, which of course was originally known as the Great War. It covers only the major military campaigns of the war. It keeps politics and home front concerns on the periphery of these military campaigns. It provides details regarding the major military campaigns, their goals and what contributed to the success or failure of the campaign. And, it covers all years and all fronts including the Middl...
  • Donato Colangelo
    A terrible trip among the fields of war. This book is more a human experience than a sterile account of what happened, skirmish after skirmish, battle after battle. Indeed, its strongest feature is the long list of witnesses reported, which give the book a humane touch. The memories makes the battles real. You can almost feel the pain and torment of an entire generation of young boys mutilated, mauled, literally destroyed by the grey, horrifying ...
  • Mike Farrell
    Good book, but no mapsA good, detailed telling of the main fighting on all of the fronts during WWI, but there are no maps. The author, Peter Hart, tells the story front by front for each year of the war, making it easy to follow the progression of the fighting for each year. Hart includes some of the lesser known front s, including Mesopotamia and the Arabian Desert.Of course themain story is the fighting on the Western front, pitting England an...
  • Pieter-Jan Van de Maele
    A must read for everyone remotely interested in the great war. It's probably not the book you should pick up if you know little to nothing about the event. In any other case though this is the the one you want to pick up. For every part of the story, Peter Hart is really able to set the tone and invoke a real emotional appreciation for the situation these people are in. Wether it's the high command making a political decision or a soldier in the ...
  • Jon
    An excellent one-volume history of the fighting during the first world war. Hart avoids becoming bogged down in tactical mutinae. Rather than try to depict the progress of tremendously complicated battles in prose, he instead offers simple summations, illuminated with excerpts from primary sources. These quotes range in source from the most junior soldiers to the most senior generals. Each major campaign is covered, but with most attention paid t...
  • John
    A good, broad overview of the first world war. This is the 2nd total overview of the war (the other was John Keegan's) I've read. The coverage of the East was rather lackluster, but the Western front was well done and the coverage of the Mesopotamian campaign was well done and in depth, I'm not sure that Keegan did much coverage here instead focusing on the campaigns in the Levant. I also appreciated the stories from individual soldiers and a his...
  • Jeff Tanqueray
    As a highschool history teacher, I've found this book indispensable for first-hand accounts across various (and often forgotten) fronts. While clearly not containing the same amount of graphic, or heart-wrenching accounts, as "The Somme," this work is still an indispensable volume in my library. Thank you, Mr. Hart, for your scholarly contributions.
  • Ben
    A really excellent overview of a very complicated conflict, with just the right mix of overview and detail to make an ideal entry point to WW1. If you only read one book on The Great War, this would take some beating.
  • Sean Burke
    Incredibly detailed but still finds a way to draw you in and keep you reading. Started this after listening to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History series on WWI and felt like it gave me a very grounded view of what happened on the ground throughout the war.
  • Mr P S LAING
    The best Great War overview by farBrilliantly organised, lucidly written, honest and fair, this wonderfully readable book comes as close to making sense of WW1 as it is reasonable to expect.
  • Jef
    What a great review of WW1, as the book considers multiple aspects of the "great battle" and presents one's that I'd not heard a lot about..Thoroughly researched and keep it reasonably interesting, this is a must read for any history buff!
  • Manuel
    Very good book, well researched and documented and extremely impartial, which is strange for a british. Nevertheless, on the end of the book the author makes a couple of mistakes (like calling the Nazi movement a right wing movement) that makes you doubt him and tempt you to recheck all data.