The First World War, Volume I: To Arms by Hew Strachan - review by Kathleen Burk

Kathleen Burk

How Much do We Want to Know?

The First World War, Volume I: To Arms


Oxford University Press 1190pp £30 order from our bookshop

The question is, just how much do you want to know about the First World War, the Great War, la grande guerre, Der Weltkrieg? If you are happy with the usual Anglophone approach – an emphasis on Great Britain, on the Western Front and on the army – then this book is not for you. It is especially not for you if you lack a certain stamina: just under twelve hundred pages long, this volume is the first of three. But if you are a reader whose eyes are open to the widest range of history, who wants to follow the threads to the furthest reaches of the web, this book will ensnare you.

For Hew Strachan, Professor of History at the University of Glasgow, the war was a global conflict from the outset, not merely a European conflict with occasional noises off. A true history of the war, therefore, must be comprehensive, but it must also be comparative: who knows British history who

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