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        World War 1, "the war to end war". A war that men went to thinking it would be a great adventure. The women proud to see them go, infact determined to see them go, even if they didn't want to.

       Of all the wars during the 20th Century this was probably the most senseless, the most pointless, the most preventable. It required politicians with vision, with the ability to do what was right in the long term, rather than play the game for pride, for nationalistic superiority. Yet today we can see the same potential situations all over the world: China v Japan, North Korea v South Korea, Israel v Iran, to name but a few.

       These books will give you a glimpse into the horrors of World War 1. So maybe when you hear the cry to go to war for self-righteous twaddle, you will know the truth.

    GOODBYE TO ALL THAT
    Robert Graves

       The autobiography by Robert Graves, first appeared in 1929, when the author was thirty-four. The title may also point to the passing of an old order following the cataclysm of the First World War; the inadequacies of patriotism, the rise of atheism, feminism, socialism and pacifism, the changes to traditional married life, and not least the emergence of new styles of literary expression, are all treated in the work, bearing as they did directly on Graves's life.

       A large part of the book is taken up by his experience of the First World War, in which Graves served as a lieutenant then captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, alongside his equally famous comrade Siegfried Sassoon. Goodbye to All That provides a detailed description of trench warfare, including the tragic incompetence of the Battle of Loos and the bitter fighting in the first phase of the Somme Offensive. In the latter engagement, Graves was severely wounded while leading his men through the churchyard cemetery of Bazentin-le-petit on July 20, 1916. The wound was so severe, in fact, that military authorities erroneously reported to his family that he had died.

    THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION
    Robert Fisk

      This book is a compilation of many of the articles Fisk wrote when he was serving as a correspondent in the Middle East for The Times and The Independent. The book revolves around several key themes regarding the history of the modern Middle East: the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf War as well as the 2003 Iraq War (United States invasion of Iraq) as well as other regional conflicts such as the Armenian Genocide and the Algerian Civil War. The Great War for Civilisation is the second book Fisk has written about the Middle East with the first one, Pity the Nation, being about the Lebanese Civil War.

       Fisk's book details his travels to many of the hotspots of the Middle East, such as Iraq and Iran during the Iran–Iraq War, and his numerous interviews with both the country's leaders and its people. Along with these interviews, Fisk also provides much of the historical context to these conflicts.

       In the book, Fisk criticizes the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom for what he perceives as their hypocritical and biased foreign policy towards the Middle East, especially in regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the 2003 Iraq War. He contends leaders of both countries deliberately misled the world about their motivations for invading Iraq in 2003.

       Robert Fisk is the most reliable, heroic, journalist covering the Middle East. In this book he reveals extraordinary behind the scenes events. He does not accept the viewpoint handed to him by politicians and generals. He is not "embedded" into the armed forces. He has an independant way of finding the truth. Sure, this is a long book, but it covers events that you will not find written about anywhere else. Easy to read, and totally fascinating.

    THIRTEEN DAYS: DIPLOMACY AND DISASTER - THE COUNTDOWN TO THE GREAT WAR
    Clive Ponting

      At the end of the First World War, Germany was demonised. The Treaty of Versailles contained a 'war guilt' clause pinning the blame on the aggression of Germany and accusing her of 'supreme offence against international morality'. Thirteen Days rejects this verdict. Clive Ponting also rejects the thesis that Europe in 1914 had reached such a boiling point that war was bound to erupt and the theory that the origins of the War lay in a mighty arms race. He argues that the War occurred primarily because of the situation in the Balkans, while he gives full weight to Austria-Hungary's desire to cripple Serbia instead of negotiating, and to Russia's militaristic programme of expansion.

      Clive Ponting begins with a dramatic recreation of the assassination in Sarajevo on 28 June. He then examines how things spiralled out of control during the weeks that led to war. The tension builds as his story criss-crosses the capital cities of Europe and describes developments day by day, and, latterly, hour by hour. The First World War destroyed the old Europe. Nearly nine million soldiers were killed and twenty-one million wounded; over ten million civilians died. By the end of the War, three great European empires - Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia - had disintegrated. Why did the War happen? In 1914, the states of Europe had been at peace for forty years, and every diplomatic dispute had been resolved peacefully. Thirteen Days describes failures of communication, fateful decisions and escalating military moves; it is an extraordinary narrative of personalities and diplomacy in the dying weeks of an era in which telephone networks were in their infancy and governments relied on telegrams in code and face-to-face meetings of ambassadors.

    EYE-DEEP IN HELL: Trench Warfare in World War I
    John Ellis

       Millions of men lived in the trenches during World War I. More than six million died there. In "Eye-Deep in Hell," the author explores this unique and terrifying world--the rituals of battle, the habits of daily life, and the constant struggle of men to find meaning amid excruciating boredom and the specter of impending death.

    STORM OF STEEL
    Ernst Junger

      The book tells the story of Paul Bäumer, a soldier who—urged on by his school teacher—joins the German army shortly after the start of World War I. Bäumerr arrives at the Western Front with his friends and schoolmates There they meet Stanislaus Katczinsky, an older soldier, nicknamed Kat, who becomes Paul's mentor. While fighting at the front, Bäumer and his comrades have to engage in frequent battles and endure the dangerous and often squalid conditions of warfare.

       At the very beginning of the book Erich Maria Remarque says "This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war." The book does not focus on heroic stories of bravery, but rather gives a view of the conditions in which the soldiers find themselves. The monotony between battles, the constant threat of artillery fire and bombardments, the struggle to find food, the lack of training of young recruits (meaning lower chances of survival), and the overarching role of random chance in the lives and deaths of the soldiers are described in detail.

    The battles fought here have no names and seem to have little overall significance, except for the impending possibility of injury or death for Bäumer and his comrades. Only pitifully small pieces of land are gained, about the size of a football field, which are often lost again later.

    "We are not youth any longer. We don't want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing from ourselves, from our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces."

    PARIS 1919, SIX MONTHS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
    Margaret Mcmillan

       During the first six months of 1919, after "the war to end all wars," men and women from around the world converged on Paris to shape the peace. On center stage was the American president, Woodrow Wilson, who with his Fourteen Points seemed to promise to so many people the fulfillment of their dreams. Idealistic in his dream of a League of Nations that would resolve all future conflict peacefully.

       David Lloyd George, the British prime minister, brought Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes. Lawrence of Arabia joined the Arab delegation. Ho Chi Minh, a kitchen assistant at the Ritz, submitted a petition for an independent Vietnam.

       For six months, Paris was effectively the center of the world as the peacemakers carved up bankrupt empires and created new countries. This book brings to life the personalities, ideals, and prejudices of the men who shaped the settlement. They pushed Russia to the sidelines, alienated China, and dismissed the Arabs. They struggled with the problems of Kosovo, of the Kurds, and of a homeland for the Jews. The peacemakers, so it has been said, failed dismally; above all they failed to prevent another war. Margaret MacMillan argues that they have been unfairly made responsible for the mistakes of those who came later. She refutes ideas about the path from Versailles to World War II and debunks the widely accepted notion that reparations imposed on the Germans were in large part responsible for the Second World War.

    ONE YOUNG MAN
    SIr Ernest Hodder-williams, C.V.O.

      The simple and true story of a clerk who enlisted in 1914, who fought on the Western Front for nearly two years, was severely wounded at the Battle of the Somme, and is now on his way back to his desk

       "When war fell upon Europe I was one of those foolish people who imagined that the Kaiser and his army would be completely crushed before Xmas, 1914. For the first two months I never gave a thought to the possibility of my becoming a soldier. I couldn't imagine myself with a rifle and bayonet chasing Huns, or standing the rough-and-ready life of the soldier, and the thought of blood was horrible. I had worn glasses since I was a boy of twelve, and for that reason, among others, I had not learnt the art of self-defence where quickness of vision is half the battle. From appearances and manners one would have ticketed me as a Conscientious Objector. I thank God I had not that conception of my duty to Him."

    THE FIRST WORLD WAR AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS
    David Stevenson.

      The horrors of the First World War--trench warfare, human tragedy, and military blunders--are well known, yet the role of politicians and diplomats has strangely been neglected. Redressing this imbalance, David Stevenson focuses on the politics of the war: why the governments of the day resorted to violence in pursuit of their political objectives, why conflict expanded to a global level, the significance of the Russian Revolution, why it was impossible to achieve compromise, and why the eventual peace settlement took the troubled form that it did. Based on detailed research in recently opened archives, this book offers valuable insight into an important chapter of 20th-century international history.

    A SCHOOL HISTORY OF THE GREAT WAR
    Albert E. Mckinley, Ph.D.

       This brief history of the world's greatest war was prepared upon the suggestion of the National Board for Historical Service. Its purpose is to expand into an historical narrative the outline of the study of the war which the authors prepared for the Board and which was published by the United States Bureau of Education as Teachers' Leaflet No. 4, in August, 1918.

       A fairly concise examination of World War 1, from the American viewpoint.
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