Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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

Freedman is a master of history! He balances just the right amount of text with amazing historical photos to paint a picture of what the world was like in 1913 heading into the political nightmare that awaited it and the Hell into which the entire continent descended. 

We are initially introduced to the major players, their relationships to one another and rationale for why they would or would not get into a war with their neighbors. As events unravel, the tenuous peace that existed also began to fall apart spiraling into the deadliest and most horrific war humanity had ever experienced.
Freedman explains the reasons behind the high killed in action and wounded numbers experienced on both sides. The advances in military power had far surpassed the advances in military tactics, thus allowing the defenders to quite literally slaughter an attacking force. Major battles are discussed with reference to the numbers of men lost on both sides, and the horrific conditions in which they were asked to fight. These conditions contributed heavily to the wounded and death toll.
A superb example of a middle grade and older nonfiction book. Kids interested in learning about World War I will devour this book.

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