Tag Archives: Modern History

A Very Short Introduction to World War I by Michael Howard

I have purchased several of the books in this series recently. They were recommended (at least the historical ones), when I was doing my degree as short and sweet introductory texts to historical periods written by specialist academics.

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 12.20.30Readable and small

The thing is, they’re jolly readable. If you want a pocket-sized quick read to carry around with you in the dark recesses of your bag for any happenstance where you’re left stranded somewhere (like I do, because I’ve had one too many cars breakdown and like to be prepared), then these books are baby gems.

Questions about WWI

I’ve always wanted to learn about World War I. I did learn about the Great War when I was in primary school, I think, but that was a long time ago and you don’t necessarily learn the key things you want to know when you’re older.

Like why did it start?

Who was on which side?

Why did it become a World War?

How many people really died?

What and where were the eastern and western fronts?

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A pocket-sized read

All these questions bubbling around in the stream of my thoughts and finally an easily readable book to give me the base level facts, figures and theories. The best part about it being that it’s not just another ‘popular’ history, it’s published by the trusted Oxford University Press.

So what better time to choose to crack on and read this bad boy than as part of my ‘book a month’ challenge?

Everyone should read this

I just can’t recommend this book enough if you want an overview of World War I. And I just can’t recommend it enough if you don’t, because what I’ve learned from reading it, is that we should always remember. People are right when they sell poppies and say ‘Lest we forget’ around the 11th November every year.

The sheer loss of life is incomprehensible. I’d heard that before, but I couldn’t help repeatedly exclaiming it to anyone who was near me at the times I was reading this book. It is shocking and honestly makes you question the human race. It makes you thankful for those who gave their lives, for those who still do, and it makes you think we should always remember.

Next read

You can probably guess that I’ve bought the World War II equivalent to this. I read the above one first for obvious reasons, and because I know WWI had such a profound impact on the starting of WWII (which I know a tad more about but not a lot, I’m not much of a modern historian), I wanted to really get my head around it.

I won’t lie, I don’t remember a great deal of what I read in the World War I book because there is just SO much. I’ll need to read it again soon. But I can say I’m very glad I read it.

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