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Over the past four years I have read many books on World War One. This year (2014) marks the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI and many books are coming out about WWI. I have read quite a few of them already. This book, “1914: The Year the World Ended”, is by the Australian Historian Paul Ham. The book is mostly about how the world went to war and very little about the battles. Recently a number of books by other writers have covered the same ground and done so in a much more enjoyable fashion. Ham tells the story leading up to the war from Austria-Hungarian, Russian, German, Serbian, British, French and Ottoman perspectives. The author follows the ebb and flow of diplomacy in Europe in the years leading up to The Great War. He highlights the feeling of inevitability of war going back a decade that served to cloud everyone’s judgment. He points out that 1914 was a pivotal year in human history. It led to the Russian Revolution, the cold war and was the seed that allowed Nazism and World War II to grow. It changed societies and countries around the globe. It was the beginning of the end of empires and monarchies as the world had known them. At the end of the book Ham relates briefly some of the battles but only covered one “the miracle on the Marne” in any detail. Despite some flaws the author performs an important role in attempting to distill historical work for the broader audiences. As there is a number of books out on this subject I wish Ham would have covered the role of the Australians played in World War One, I think that would have make a more unique book. Robert Meldrum did a good job narrating this 23 hour book.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
When they say this is 'unabridged', they mean it!! You get 22+ hours of details. I couldn't bear it. There's got to be a happy medium between this and a Readers Digest version of the Great War.
Would you ever listen to anything by Paul Ham again?
Yes. But would get the abridged version.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
Yes - both a bit dull, given the content.
Was 1914 worth the listening time?
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Wonderfully detailed, comprehensive and non-biased picture of Europe before 1914 (explaining also,in ideal fashion, briefly and clearly, many events of the previous century which contributed to the creation of that Europe), excellent investigation and summary of the causes and circumstances of thw Great War's beginning. It doesn't "blame and shame". I found it enlightening, a must-read, even after having read dozens of titles on WWI. And the narration is perfect.
Would you consider the audio edition of 1914 to be better than the print version?
Don't have print version
Who was your favorite character and why?
What about Robert Meldrum’s performance did you like?
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
the tragic loss of life
Any additional comments?