Thursday, November 13, 2008

WWI

Wayne has a great list of recommendations for books on World War I. When I read his post I was humbled. I haven't read any of those books! Not one.

I've read so many works on World War II but I've completely neglected the first WW. I've got some catch-up reading to do. Luckily I have a little time. I think I'll start with Tuchman's The Guns of August. That's because I have a thing for well-told war narratives. I especially like eye-witness accounts or stories built up from interviews with combatants.

Hey, don't forget to vote (see yesterday's picture post).

12 comments:

Bobber said...

Add to the list Patrick Buchanan's recent book, "Churchhill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War." Although the title suggests that it's about WWII, it actually begins in the late 19th century. It is kind of a political overview of the Wars of the 29th century. It tries to get into the heads of all the governments involved and figure out why they did what they did. His description of Churchill in WWI is quite shocking. The end of WWI and the blockade of Germany which forced the signing of the terms of surrender was something I never knew. It's a real eye opener when you come to see how WWI shaped the arrival of Hitler and the Nazi party.

Jeff Meyers said...

Cool! Wars of the 29th century. I love scifi! ;-)

Bobber said...

typo, should be 20th. But Wars of the 29th century sounds like a good show for Discovery Channel don't you think?

Janelle said...

Well, had I more time when I posted that I would have added a few more such as:

1. "Paris 1919" by Margaret MacMillan

A good over-view of the Paris Peace talks -- this is what made the rest of the 20th century.

2. "Good-Bye to All That" by Robert Graves and "Undertones of War" by Edmund Blunden -- two great war memoirs from two great writers.

3. "Regeneration," "The Eye in the Door," and "The Ghost Road" by Pat Barker. This group form a trilogy (the last of which won the Booker Prize) of historical novels dealing with War, Psychological recovery, and the political upheaval of post-WWI England.

There's tons of good stuff out there, but these are the books that I've enjoyed. This all started for me back in 1999. As everyone was getting ready for the year 2000, I decided to pick a topic from the 20th century that I really didn't know much about. I too, growing up, had read a lot about WWII (my dad having served in the Army Air Corp fueled some of this). But I couldn't help but notice the huge lacuna of WWI staring me in the face.

Wayne said...

Oops, that was me. I didn't realize that Janelle had logged into her Google account this morning.

Wayne said...

Oh, and if you don't want to read MacMillan's book, you can listen to a series of lectures that basically cover the same thing via audible.com. The lectures are called "Six Months that Changed the World."

Wayne said...

Sorry for high-jacking your post like this. My comments about Tuchman may have been a little misleading. Her book only takes you through August 1914 and is mostly about the build-up to the war. But, of course, that's where you would want to start.

Jeff Meyers said...

No problem, Wayne-Janelle. Good clarifications!

David said...

Read Guns of August first and then John Keegen. Also Robert Massie's work Nicholas and Alexandra about Russia and the WWI is very good and sheds much light on what happened there.
Work needs to be done on the fighting in the Middle East during WWI and the mandates and countries created out of the old Ottoman Empire which still affect us greatly today.

Jeff S. said...

So, what do you recommend on WWII?

Bobber said...

Another great WWI resource is this video called, "The Great War in the Air". Check it out, you can watch the whole thing online.

Jeff Meyers said...

On WWII begin with Ambrose. Just about anything he's done on WWII. That will give you some basic story lines to work with. For an fairly detailed historical account read Martin Gilbert's The Second World War. I'll have to have a second post to suggest more specific studies.