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World War I: A concise military history

World War I was one of the great turning points in history, whose consequences continue to influence the world today; it is with little exaggeration that the war can be seen as the catalyst to the formation of the modern world. The combination of mass armies and a revolution in military technology ensured that the conflict would reach a destructiveness unknown in history, and with a geographical reach that saw a remote Balkans conflict spread swiftly across the entire globe.

The 100th anniversary of the start of World War I has led to a renewed popular interest in the war. The intention of this book is to provide the reader with a concise yet authoritative account of this conflict, explaining its causes and consequences while focusing on the conduct of the war: the great battles on land and sea and the advent of a new kind of warfare in the skies.


‘This book is a useful corrective to the view that the war consisted almost entirely of infantry battles in France. Absorbing.’ – Philip Warner, Daily Telegraph

Praise for previous books:

Challenge of Battle: The Real Story of the British Army in 1914

‘Adrian Gilbert has written a sophisticated and nuanced analysis of the BEF in 1914. This book deserves to have a significant impact on our understanding of the British fighting machine.’ – Professor Richard S. Grayson, author of Belfast Boys: How Unionists and Nationalists Fought and Died Together in the First World War

‘Through personal accounts and official documents alike, Gilbert’s book finally exposes the truth behind the conflict. This brilliantly balanced book is a story of incompetence, courage and survival.’ – History of War

POW: Allied Prisoners in Europe 1939-1945

‘Gilbert is to be congratulated; with verve and scholarship he has illuminated a murky area of the war … [an] excellent history.’ – Ian Thomson, Daily Telegraph

‘Captured: the real spirit of the POW camps… a big subject here given a comprehensive and worthwhile examination.’ – Peter Lewis, Daily Mail

The Imperial War Museum Book of the Desert War

‘The book is culled from the diaries, letters, reports and recollections of the people who fought the war. A vivid, vital history.’ – Sunday Times

‘By now a familiar story, re-told from a series of new angles ... much fresh, illuminating detail.’ – Professor M. R. D. Foot, Good Book Guide

Buy Adrian Gilbert