Monday, December 10, 2012

World War I: History in an Hour by Rupert Colley

World War I: History in an Hour by Rupert Colley

Completion Date: November 25, 2012
Reason for Reading: Review copy received through Netgalley.
History for busy people. Read a concise history of World War One in just one hour.
World War One brought with it the world’s first experience of Total War, involving all of the world’s great powers, polarized between the Triple Entente, lead by Britain, France and Russia, and the Central Powers, dominated by Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary. Around 9 million men lost their lives in a conflict that introduced the horrors of trench warfare, machine guns and toxic gas attacks.
WORLD WAR ONE: HISTORY IN AN HOUR gives you a clear overview of the road to war, the major turning points and battles, and the key leaders involved, as well as the lasting impact the Great War had on almost every country in the world. WORLD WAR ONE: HISTORY IN AN HOUR is essential reading for all history lovers.
I have been hearing about this series of historical events, places, and people told in 1-hour. When I saw this book offered on Netgalley I thought it would be a good chance to see what they are all about.   I am not sure starting with something I know was a good idea. I didn't really learn anything new from this book. I am pretty good with my WWI and WWII history. I was mostly just curious how these books were presented. And, if I knew nothing about WWI I would have learned the important facts in a short period of time. I have no doubt about that.

My biggest problem was this book is put out by the British version of Harper Collins. This means that the facts are based around the history of WWI and how it related to people from that country. This meant that other countries got less of a mention. And other countries were important, too, so it would disappoint me if this was the only book people read about WWI. I live in Canada and I read forever before they were even mentioned. I was wondering if they were just being grouped in with the British. The U.S. got a bit more mention, but they joined the war later. The thing is, I may not have noticed this is if I didn't know so much about WWI going into the book. This is why I am thinking it was a bad idea to start with a subject I know so much about.

Ultimately, this is a good introduction to the events of WWI. I am not sure such a big event is the best subject to cram into such a small space, but it was mostly done effectively. I can't imagine reading this book and being satisfied  I think I would want more details instead of the basic facts, but I love history and reading about it to begin with. At some point I would like to try one of the books on events or a person I know very little about.

Recommended for a good introduction. If you know what it is all about; nothing new will be learned here.


  1. Sounds like an interesting way to introduce the basic facts.

  2. I get that UK- or US-centred feeling in a lot of history books, especially about the wars. But truth be told, I've only read books about the war written by UK or US authors...

  3. This one looks fascinating!

  4. Hmmm, I think it would annoy me that things were missing - though I understand that they had to make choices if they wanted to cram it all into a short book. I think it's good that you started with a topic you know about - now that you know how selective the text can be you'll know that whatever you read next will be incomplete too. I think I'd prefer something longer and more inclusive...

  5. I've not heard of this concept. Not sure what I think about it.

  6. Interesting to get your viewpoint on this book. We have this book and I have not read it yet. Thanks.


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