Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914? (英語) ペーパーバック – 2005/3/8
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When war broke out in Europe in 1914, it surprised a European population enjoying the most beautiful summer in memory. For nearly a century since, historians have debated the causes of the war. Some have cited the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand; others have concluded it was unavoidable.
In Europe’s Last Summer, David Fromkin provides a different answer: hostilities were commenced deliberately. In a riveting re-creation of the run-up to war, Fromkin shows how German generals, seeing war as inevitable, manipulated events to precipitate a conflict waged on their own terms. Moving deftly between diplomats, generals, and rulers across Europe, he makes the complex diplomatic negotiations accessible and immediate. Examining the actions of individuals amid larger historical forces, this is a gripping historical narrative and a dramatic reassessment of a key moment in the twentieth-century.
“An absorbing history of WWI’s origins. . . . Superb.” –Newsweek
“An enormously impressive book, a popular history brimming with fresh scholarship.”--The Weekly Standard
"No one has deconstructed the war quite the way Fromkin has.... Through it all are the telling details of diplomatic and military life that make the period so utterly tragic." --The Boston Globe
“A crisp, lively, day-by-day account of that fateful summer . . . This book, both decisive and nuanced, is as convincing as it is appalling.” –Foreign Affairs
“Excellent . . . Europe’s Last Summer never bogs down, covers the ground, and makes its points. It is also charmingly written.” –The New Criterion
“Magnificent, consistently compelling. . . . Written with clarity and insight. . . . [Fromkin] masterfully guies us through the complexities of appropriate prewar and European diplomatic and military history.” –BookPage
“The boldness of Formkin’s argument is enough to warrant attention, but his fluidity of expression guarantees a large audience.”–Booklist (starred)
“Fromkin’s thoroughgoing account gives answers that only new research and previously too-often hidden records could provide. . . . Comes to new conclusions.”–Richmond Times-Dispatch
“A fast-paced, gripping guide through the complex set of reasons and emotions that led to the 20th century’s seminal conflict.” –CNN.com
The book has high undergraduate value because Dr. Fromkin believes in" Repetitio est Mater Studiorum" and he makes sure to repeat often his statements so that we Dummies can retain them.
A Historian is an evaluator but not a Judge.He is called to evaluate to the best of his knowledge and to the utmost of his integrity acts and events wher proof in the legal sense is missing.A Great Historian will understand the animal from its footprints without actually seeing it.Dr. Fromkin is a bit short on that.He is fair in that he lists the data at his disposal but he pulls his punches to play it safe.He stays with the general consensus in his conclusions as to the responsibility for the war ,since this is,on the majority's view,safe ground.There is no controversy in his conclusions,there is no innovation either.
The First World War is a small part relatively of American History and the average American interested in its origins can be covered with a book like this one.For any serious student of this war other books are more illuminating.In my review of Prof Sean McMeeckin's book "July 1914 Countdown to War" I made alist of possible book choices on the subject
The second part is Fromkin's analysis of who bears the responsibility of the outbreak of the Great War.
I found the first part to be well written and researched. Fromkin portrays the events and people that led to the Great War with great precision, which provides a valuable background.
As for the second part, without spoiling the book too much, the author puts the blame mainly on Germany and Austria-Hungary. Without delving into the exact reasons why, Fromkin basically argues that Austria-Hungary felt compelled to attack Serbia in order to secure the future of their multiethnic empire. Along with that, Germany wanted to start the war with Russia in order to prevent it from becoming the dominant power in Europe, which it was, supposedly, on the road to. The author's conclusions are nothing new to people who are well versed in the ins and outs of the WW1 and were raised before in the past by many historians.
In summary, this book will be a great addition to the library of anyone who is interested in WWI and also to people who are interested in a very detailed overview of the months prior to the Great War.
I gave this book four starts because is too redundant and too long for what it is. It feels like reading the same book twice, which may be good since you won't forget the main thesis and characters. At the same time it gets tedious, specially the last parts when the thesis is repeated over and over again.