The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began

The Lost History of Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began In The Lost History of Jack Beatty offers a highly original view of World War I testing against fresh evidence the long dominant assumption that it was inevitable Most books set in map the

  • Title: The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began
  • Author: Jack Beatty
  • ISBN: 9780802778116
  • Page: 313
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In The Lost History of 1914, Jack Beatty offers a highly original view of World War I, testing against fresh evidence the long dominant assumption that it was inevitable Most books set in 1914 map the path leading to war, Beatty writes This one maps the multiple paths that led away from it Chronicling largely forgotten events faced by each of the belligerent countrieIn The Lost History of 1914, Jack Beatty offers a highly original view of World War I, testing against fresh evidence the long dominant assumption that it was inevitable Most books set in 1914 map the path leading to war, Beatty writes This one maps the multiple paths that led away from it Chronicling largely forgotten events faced by each of the belligerent countries in the months before the war started in August, Beatty shows how any one of them a possible military coup in Germany an imminent civil war in Britain the murder trial of the wife of the likely next premier of France, who sought d tente with Germany might have derailed the war or brought it to a different end In Beatty s hands, these stories open into epiphanies of national character, and offer dramatic portraits of the year s major actors Kaiser Wilhelm, Tsar Nicholas II , Woodrow Wilson, along with forgotten or overlooked characters such as Pancho Villa, Rasputin, and Herbert Hoover Europe s ruling classes, Beatty shows, were so haunted by fear of those below that they mistook democratization for revolution, and were tempted to escape forward into war to head it off Beatty s powerful rendering of the combat between August 1914 and January 1915 which killed than one million men, restores lost history, revealing how trench warfare, long depicted as death s victory, was actually a life saving strategy.Beatty s deeply insightful book as elegantly written as it is thought provoking and probing lights a lost world about to blow itself up in what George Kennan called the seminal catastrophe of the twentieth century It also arms readers against narratives of historical inevitability in today s world.

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    1 thought on “The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began”

    1. We never studied WWI when I was in high school and since I wasn't a history major in college, I never learned anything about it. Once I started reading and studying the labor movement at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century in America, I got interested. Of course, there's All Quiet on the Western Frontier for the soldier's point of view and there are numerous histories as well. I saw a review on this one and decided to pick it up. I love it! It deals more with the psychology of [...]

    2. The illustrations are significant inclusions.Acknowledgments were given to those who helped edit and provide clarity "for improving, aggregately, nearly every page of this book". It's scary to think what the condition of the text would have been without these folks because there were so many edits and needs for clarity that escaped them to make the book almost unreadable/annoying reading at times. For example:Page 57Speaking of General V. A. Sukhomlinov, Russian minister of war: "In Sazonov's (R [...]

    3. Today 1914 is remembered mostly if not only for the beginning of the First World War and the events leading directly up to it. Everything else, including a number of circumstances that might in fact have prevented the outbreak of the war had things gone just a little bit differently, is largely forgotten, having been overshadowed by the carnage that followed. Beatty offers up a number of these lesser known pieces of history while simultaneously taking a fresh look at events precipitating and occ [...]

    4. A unique look at the time before WW I. It discusses events in each country that may have led to the war not occurring in 1914. Largely sticks with little-known facts of the time, which is its main appeal. It draws heavily on scholarly books for war-related premises and assumptions. Not strong throughout but good overall.

    5. Not really just about 1914, the book is about the history of the participant countries of WWI leading up to 1914, and why each one easily could have been uninvolved in the war, or unable to participate in beginning it. I learned a ton about European and US history. Usually, books don't focus on the episodes of turmoil of countries that don't lead to war.The main part of the book is dedicated to a single country per chapter, and works well. The last three chapters cover the start of the war, and [...]

    6. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the causes of the first World War. Beatty focuses on some of the internal issues behind the collapse of international relations, so his point of view is different from many works on the subject. Most significantly, he challenges the mindset of many historians that the coming of the war was somehow inevitable, that hostilities would have broken out 'sooner or later'. (In that way, his view is similar to Richard Evans' three volume hi [...]

    7. Most people learn that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was the spark that ignited World War I, and that, because of interlocking military alliances, the war was inevitable even without that specific immediate cause. However, in The Lost History of 1914, Jack Beatty challenges the theory of the war’s inevitability. Countries are not monolithic, and Beatty shows that there were statesmen around in 1914 who might have avoided war. He writes, “Regarding war as improbable [...]

    8. To itemise how WW1 was perfectly avoidable and the powers of the time all in various ways chose for it, is a good moral mission for a book. But it fails to do what the opening claims, to sensationally show that WW1 only came from an accidental combination of personal circumstances in each country. All through the book, many of the choices recorded were made on a perception, by politicians and army chiefs, that the stand-off between the empires was going to lead to a "future" war, and in Germany [...]

    9. If you are looking for a quick and easy intro to World War One, this book is not for you. Beatty is a revisionist historian who argues the war was not inevitable, as so many claim, and the assumption is readers will be at least moderately fluent in the subject. The argument falls apart almost as soon as we read past the introduction, disproved by his own chapters on pre-war Germany and Russia, brilliant chapters, I might add, that more or less prove nothing could have prevented this war, and tha [...]

    10. Utterly fascinating, and if someone put this in a work of fiction I say they were being ridiculous.The Austrian government hated the dead ArchDuke Franz Ferdinand (whose assassination started the whole thing) so much that they celebrated at his death, then went ahead and declared war on Serbia to avenge it.The German Army leaders knew perfectly well that the war would drag on for years. They lied to their own government to get the Kaiser to declare war.In August 1914 the UK was poised for a civi [...]

    11. For some reason feel compelled to click on those rating stars3.5? The sentence structure makes me want to bang my head, but the content of this book is really worth the effort. Jack Beatty is one of my favorite radio pundits (local NPR station) and his knowledge seems unlimited. Thank you, Jack Beatty, for this important education.I love books that investigate particular eras of history by looking through a wide lens on a focused subject. Political decisions, influential people, and interactions [...]

    12. Interesting spin on the origins of WWI. Some were familiar and refreshing, others new. When the Berlin Wall came down much of modern history required reinterpretation and some of this happened for the year 1914.The author takes an interesting approach, and reviews events immediately prior to June-August 1914 when if one event had happened differently in any one of Europe's capitals the great powers might not have taken the fatal steps to war. As the author noted there was the before the Great Wa [...]

    13. Very interesting material. The book describes an internal crisis percolating for each major belligerent in WWI, crises that are largely forgotten in the USA and in introductory history classes. For example, Great Britain was on the verge of a civil war with the Unionists of Northern Ireland, or Germany was being torn apart by the confrontation between its militaristic ruling classes and the increasingly powerful Socialist movement. Each crisis could have changed the course of WWI or even whether [...]

    14. The subtitle, "Reconsidering the year the Great War began" tells the whole story. Instead of a chronological survey of events, Beatty goes into great detail on the conditions existing in the last 10 or so years bfore 1914 in the various countries who would be involved once the conflict began (Germany, Russia, England, U.S. and Mexico, Austria-Hungary, and France). It quickly becomes clear that war of some kind was inevitable although he presents and evaluates several theories proposed by other h [...]

    15. THis book describes the social and political status of nation states on the brink of WWI. It is surprising how easily the war might have been averted due to various circumstances. For example, Britian was on the verge of a civil war over home rule for Ireland with troops and weapons being sent just as the archduke got shot. A major conflict there could have made it impossible to send troops to France. There are similiar tales for other states, Russia on the verge of red revolt, Germany torn apar [...]

    16. This book is a combination of a better explanation of the convoluted causes of WW 1 (better than just blame Germany) and how a few different things in each of the involved nations could have forestalled the war. Beatty does not believe the war was inevitable and i am convinced.Also very interesting was the description of Presidnt Wilson's role and our involvement in the Mexican revolution -- not taught when I was in school.

    17. After reading a number of the new books on the causes of World War One last year (on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the start of the war) this one presented a novel approach: the causes were not what happened in July 1914, but the events in preceding years that put in place the necessary causes in each country, e.g. the Irish question in England, the Poincaré murder trial in France, etc. An interesting take, but too repetitive.

    18. An unusual and interesting work tracking all of the massive social contours leading to the conflagration that followed. It's also one of the few works devoted to this subject to offer a thoroughly in-depth account of the development of trench warfare on the Western Front without wallowing in the apparent futility and stupidity of it all. As it was neither futile nor stupid, this is to be welcomed indeed.

    19. Excellent and original analysis of the path to WWI, the seminal event of the 20th century. Editing errors merit significant reduction in the rating-one hopes the next edition will correct them and the many insights presented will reach a wide audience. The portrayal of the malign influence of Franz Josef was particularly interesting and convincing.Highly recommended with reservations due to editing.

    20. Some parts of this book felt rather disjointed to me, but it made up for it by making me aware of lots of bits of Early Twentieth Century history I really need to learn more about. (In particular, the history of why Ireland exploded then as opposed to at some earlier time, and various things in Russia---apparently the Tsar tried to ban alcohol?---and Austria-Hungary.)

    21. I found the prose in this book unreadable. Had to stop after about 25 pages, even though I am very interested in the subject matter. A real shame. It reads almost as if it had been dictated and not edited. Also, there is a huge editing error in the preface / introduction where several paragraphs are repeated verbatim. Very odd.

    22. The idea of the book is excellent, however the author veers into too many tangents and side stories that the overall premise is somewhat lost. It got quite tedious at times so the impact was reduced. Could use a good edit and also a peer review from some well regarded historians.

    23. One of many of the new books exploring the outbreak of the Great War - with the 100th anniversary commencing this year. Explores some of the less studied aspects of the world before the war and overlooked events of the wR's outbreak

    24. IT was an interesting book, but marred by the authors need to move beyond the days after the Great War started and go off topic.

    25. Well-written, with a fascinating deep dive into the domestic politics of each of the warring nations prior to outbreak. Fluid, fascinating and only sparked further curiosity in the First World War.

    26. An interesting book that explores the ways that World War I could have been touched off over different events or possibly not even have started at all.

    27. Many insights into the real or perceived causes of the war; personalities; events; and ultimate outcome leading to WW 11.

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