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I agree with other reviewers that this is a difficult book to follow in the audio version. There are so many players, so much "he said-she said" and a definite need for a map to refer to constantly. I too would have liked to have been able to flip back several pages to refresh my mind many times during the reading. The narration was good overall. The detail of the research was intense. The book was overwhelming in spots.
That said, I love blow by blow accounts of history and that was exactly what this hairsplitter of a book was all about. What's more--my beloved British grandfather fought in the trenches and survived mustard gassing and the war. I listened because I wanted to understand his experience better. Heart pounding and terrifying. A must for history lovers--but maybe the print version or a kindle/audible link would be best so you can flip back and forth. Plus find a good map--your going to need it!
34 of 35 people found this review helpful
Occasionally I come across a book that is so good that I don't know if I should keep listening or turn it off for fear of finishing too quickly. This book is one of those.
I think that Nadia May, who narrates this and other Barbara Tuchman books, does a wonderful job. Descriptions and events are clear and largely riveting. I have only 2 complaints. One is that not all of the French is translated into English and the other is that there are no maps. I had to get my John Keegan book on the First World War and look at the maps to understand exactly what was happening. However the first complaint is problably a lack in the original printed form of the book and the second is a drawback of narrated books in general. One would hope that given the new visual capabilities of todays devices the producers would find some way to include maps.
I gave this book 5 stars and think it is worth every one. In my view it is better than either of the other of her books (The Proud Tower and The Distant Mirror) that I have listended to. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the events leading up to the First World War.
47 of 49 people found this review helpful
Barbara Tuchman won a Pulitzer Prize for this book and it is easy to understand why. She deals with a massively important turning point in history and writes in such an uncluttered and interesting style, and strikes a nicely judged balance between the historical narrative and comment. But you do need to concentrate to keep a grip of the huge cast of characters and the foreign names!
Superbly well narrated.
The only problem with listening to audio history books with a military them is that unless your grasp of of the geography is very good, you occasionly need to resort to a map to keep track of what's going on. But this does not detract from the enjoyment of the book.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
The reviews for this book tempted me to get it despite a feeling that there surely couldn't be anything new to say about the first world war. However; it grips from the start to create a clear picture of what was driving the seemingly non-sensical start of world war one and how the first few months of the war unfolded. If all of that sounds a bit dry there are a sequence of gloriously bonkers characters amongst the ranks of Europe's nobility and military class which add fascinating human colour to the epic historical sweep
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I would recommend this bookj to anyone with an interest in WW1. It is never heavy going and tremendously informative.
Great account of the pre-war setting that eventually led to the Great War and what happened in the couple of months after.
However I found it hard to follow with a lot of people and place names being regularly dropped. Would advise in reading the physical book with maps to get a better sense of what's happening.