Printer Friendly

Hew Strachan, The First World War: A New Illustrated History.

Hew Strachan, The First World War: A New Illustrated History, London: Simon and Schuster, 2003. xviii + 350 pp, photographs, maps, index. $50.00.

Hew Strachan, Chichele Professor of Military History at Oxford, has been involved in number of publications relating to the First World War in recent years. He has edited the Oxford History of the First World War and has published To Arms, the first volume of a three-part history of that conflict.

The volume under review is derived from a television series for the BBC, which has not, regrettably, been shown yet on Australian television.

For Professor Strachan the war was a global conflict and he explicitly rejects the thesis that it was a 'conflict waged between states whose similarities were more marked than their differences--a sort of European civil war' (p. 67). His chapter on global war outlines the conflicts in the Far East and Africa, as German colonies are wound up and Von Spee's fleet sails to its destruction off the Falklands. Turkey's entry into the war and its subsequent role are covered in a chapter appropriately titled Jihad!

This is not just a study of campaigns. The author investigates the ideologies driving the participants and notes that these ideologies remained driving forces 'deemed to be so fundamental that they sustained the war despite its length and its intensity ... It was emphatically not a war without purpose' (pp 63-64). He discusses the outbreak.

The economic aspect of the war is well covered. Strachan notes the debilitating effect of the blockade on Germany. Not only were the shortages per se severe but the ersatz food created to replace it lacked nutritional value, causing weight loss and illness. There was suspicion between classes and between the city and country.

The book is well produced with excellent photographs. A feature is a section containing coloured photographs produced by using potato starch, a process now apparently lost. The maps are adequate and I would have preferred some more detailed ones. This book provides an excellent overview of the First World War and is recommended.

Ric Pelvin
COPYRIGHT 2005 Military Historical Society of Australia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Pelvin, Ric
Publication:Sabretache
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 2005
Words:346
Previous Article:Peter Stanley. Quinn's Post.
Next Article:C.D. Coulthard-Clark. Australia's military map-makers: The Royal Australian Survey Corps 1915-1996.
Topics:


Related Articles
Murray Ewen. Colour Patch: The men of the 2/4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion 1940-1945.
Hew Strachan. The First World War.
Stevenson, David. Cataclysm: the First World Ward as political tragedy.
The British Working Class and Enthusiasm for War, 1914-1916.
Hew Strachan. The First World War: A New Illustrated History.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |