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The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 Hardcover – Oct 29 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Oct 29 2013
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: ALLEN LANE; 1st Canadian Edition edition (Oct. 29 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670064041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670064045
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


The War that Ended Peace tells the story of how intelligent, well-meaning leaders guided their nations into catastrophe. These epic events, brilliantly described by one our era’s most talented historians, warn of the dangers that arise when we fail to anticipate the consequences of our actions. Immersed in intrigue, enlivened by fascinating stories, and made compelling by the author’s own insights, this is one of the finest books I have read on the causes of World War I.” - Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State

“Once again, Margaret MacMillan proves herself not just a masterly historian but a brilliant storyteller. She brings to life the personalities whose decisions, rivalries, ambitions, and fantasies led Europe to “lay waste to itself” and triggered decades of global conflict. Hers is a cautionary tale of follies a century in the past that seem all too familiar today.” - Strobe Talbott, President, Brookings Institution

The War That Ended Peace is a masterful explanation of the complex forces that brought the Edwardian world crashing down. Utterly riveting, deeply moving, and impeccably researched, MacMillan's latest opus will become the definitive account of old Europe's final years.” - Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire

"That MacMillan's research is both thorough and of the utmost quality goes without saying; however, the relevant lessons she draws out of the "puzzle" that precipitated the Great War bear repeating again and again. Above all she reminds us that, even in an increasingly interconnected world, nothing is inevitable and there are always choices to be made that can lead us to achieve conflict prevention." - Lieutenant-General The Honourable Romeo A. Dallaire

“Margaret MacMillan… is that wonderful combination—an academic and scholar who writes well, with a marvelous clarity of thought. Her pen portraits of the chief players are both enjoyable and illuminating. Among the cascade of books arriving for the anniversary, this work truly stands out.” - Antony Beevor, author of The Second World War

“Few historians have better credentials to write about the origins of the First World War than the Oxford scholar Margaret MacMillan…with its lovely elegant style, keen eye for human foibles and impeccable attention to detail, this is one of the most enjoyably readable books of the year… MacMillan depicts a world of neurotically anxious empires and dangerously insecure alliances, a restless landscape in which diplomacy’s tectonic plates never stay still for a moment.” - Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

About the Author

MARGARET MacMILLAN is the renowned author of Women of the Raj, Stephen Leacock (Extraordinary Canadians series), and the international bestsellers Nixon in China and Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, which won the 2003 Governor General’s Award and the 2002 Samuel Johnson Prize. She is also the author of The Uses and Abuses of History. The past provost of Trinity College at the University of Toronto, she is now the warden of St. Antony’s College at Oxford University.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"The War That Ended Peace" is an extensively researched study of the people and events that led Europe to World War I. The Road To 1914 did not begin in Sarajevo. Author Margaret MacMillian begins with the state of Europe in 1900 and then examines the countries, leaders and issues that drove history down that road. The readers learn much about the Kaiser, Kings Edward VII and George V, Tsar Nicholas, Emperor Franz Joseph, colonial rivalries and the flare-ups over places like Morocco and the Balkans and shifts in relative power that threatened to bring the Great Powers into conflict. With the background laid MacMillan examines the plans for war and peace and the interests that threatened to reshuffle the alliances in the days leading up to war. Finally the narrative covers the downward slope through the assassination, ultimata, negotiations, mobilizations and declarations until "The lamps are going out all over Europe."

This is historical writing at its finest. I do not, by any means, consider myself an expert on World War I. Despite that limitation this book never left me confused or bored. What I found to be a rare but fascinating quality is the ability to draw parallels between events of a century ago and more recent ones. The comparison between the visit of King Edward VII to Paris and President Nixon to Beijing is one example. Many of us will will become much more familiar with World War I during the upcoming Centennial. "The War That Ended Peace" is a great introduction to the Great War.
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Format: Hardcover
Once again, Margaret MacMillan has written a compelling book. She approaches Europe's relentless journey toward the Great War with a desire to expose the complexity of motivations, circumstances, failures of nerve and entanglements that led to the devastation of 1914-1918. In this, the centenary of the beginning of the Great War, it is appropriate to retrace the march (or was it more a stumbling) toward war.
MacMillan provides a thorough review of the context of Europe prior to 1914. She presents the various characters with a level of insight and fairness that is admirable. It is not possible to lay responsibility for the war at the feet of any one nation or any one person. There is plenty of responsibility to go around. As time progressed, leaders felt that their options were being reduced. They were caught in a complex web of personal relationships and grievances, nationalism run rampant, public opinions that were creating pressure for military action, and military planning that created irresistible momentum toward war. Once set in motion, Europe rumbled toward the precipice.
On several occasions, MacMillan draws parallels between the events of the early 20th century and similar situations and decisions of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. These provide a series of lessons for readers and leaders in the 21st century. But on occasion, MacMillan's observations are a little preachy.
At times the amount of detail provided by MacMillan was daunting. But it is also one of the strengths of the book and of her scholarship. When finished reading the book, I found myself better informed because of the detail.
As the book moved forward toward the breakout of the war, I found that the pace of the book picked up.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An intense reading of the period and it's concepts. A classic for our times and an entirely welcome explanation which leads into her work 1919.
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 12 2014
Format: Hardcover
In her latest book on the origins of World War I, Professor MacMillan makes a solid case for believing that wars never just happen because opposing sides can’t get along and need to fight it out in order to determine who is the ultimate winner. No, it is more complex than that. Like many major, long-lasting conflicts in modern times, the causes of World War I go back decades in European history when the continent was ruled by a number of monarchical houses or dynasties intent on building world empires by acquiring foreign lands, encouraging trade, and spreading their presence everywhere possible. MacMillan provides a very detailed narrative that, above all else, identifies and describes the major actors in the windy road to one of history’s most extensive and deadly conflicts. This is an age when kings and emperors still counted for something in the fulfillment of national greatness. We get to see how the Kaiser, Edward VIII, Emperor Joseph, and Nicholas II - three of whom were first cousins through the royal lineage of the House of Saxe-Coburg - naively led, with the help of ministers, their respective nations into a war that ended up hollowing out a whole generation of European youth. Then there were the generals, the strident nationalists, the ardent pacifists, the committed socialists, the greedy capitalists, the capricious academics, and the impressionable common man. MacMillan traces the main threads of this intricate and complex tale as coming down to geopolitical dynamics such as an all-consuming naval race between Britain and Germany, the changing alliances within Europe, the encircling and isolation of Germany, and the crumbling fortunes of Russia in the east.Read more ›
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