Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The War To End All Wars by Russell Freedman

The War to End All Wars.  World War I by Russell Freedman

War World I was suppose to be the war to end all wars in the world.  It was brutal, deadly, and unforgettable.  Thousands of lives would be lost for a few feet of territory.  Unfortunately World War I was a precursor  and a cause of World War II and as we all know the horrors of war continue in the world today. 

World War I started when Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were killed by a Serbian terrorist group called the Black Hand in 1914 in Sarajevo.  After their murders Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and the Russians (Serbian allies) declared war on Austria and then Germany declared war on Russia and so on until almost the entire world was involved in a war for reasons most couldn't clarify. 

World War I would change the way war was fought when it employed modern weapons, like tanks, long range artillery, trench warfare and poisonous gas.  Battles would be fought on land, sea and in the air with newly designed bomber planes.  Over 20 million people died in World War I, many empires collapsed, revolutions were fought, famine was widespread and the world map was redrawn. 

Freedman does an excellent job of explaining World War I clearly and accurately.  Many photos depict the anguish of war, the devastation of the landscape and the injury of the soldiers.  There are only four maps in the book and personally I would have preferred more.  As a world history teacher, maps are really important to me and help me reference the location of an historical event. The War to End All Wars in my opinion could have had a lot more maps illustrating the important battles and their strategic locations.

The War To End All Wars is extremely informative, easy to read and understand and an excellent reference resource on World War I.

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