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Tuesday, 18 February 2014


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Kursk, viewed in isolation, was 'bigger' than almost all other wars, with millions engaged on both sides, with thousands of aircraft and tanks.

Exactly right, 'H', and whilst I know the rough outlines I am looking forward to finding out the details.

I cannot speak for the weight of Margaret MacMillan's tome, because I have it on my Kindle. However, I finished reading it last month, and I can thoroughly recommend it.

A major niggle is that the book stops at the point where war breaks out in Europe. There is no mention of the successful flight of the battle-cruiser Goeben and light cruiser Breslau to Constantinople which, only a few days after the outbreak of war in Europe, tipped the balance enough to bring Turkey into the war on the German side! It has been estimated that this added two whole years to the war!!

On top of this, with the closure of the Dardanelles, Russia's only ice free trade route was stopped. This did much to strangle her economy, which together with the German release of a certain Vladimir Lenin contributed heavily to the conditions that led to the October Revolution in 1917. Surely all this was important enough to have warranted inclusion in MacMillan's brief.

However, putting this niggle aside, 'The War That Ended Peace' should be regarded as pretty much the last word on the causes of the First World War. It is also an extremely readable book.

Duff, get yourself some weights and start reading!

I started reading it last night, Richard, in fact I set aside "Kursk" for later. So far I am enjoying her style and her level-headed approach. Also, she wrote a book which enjoyed huge critical acclaim on the Versailles peace that followed and which I have been meaning to buy but at least now I will be taking her books in order.

And I don't require weight training, allow me to remind you that I am in the swimming pool five mornings a week dead on 7.00am. I am nearly back to being the skinny little runt I was 50-odd years ago!

Thanks for the recommendations, Duff. Downloaded both to my Kindle; will give me something to do tonight when I come out of the pub.
PS. It's my view that women make the best narrative historians - the late Mrs, Barbara Tuchman, and our own, equally late, Dame Veronica Wedgwood.Anyone think the same?

Glad to have been of service, Oswald, if you have both books it should give you something to do every night for the rest of the year!

I agree with your praise of Ms. Tuchman.

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