The Pity of War
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The Pity of War

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The First World War killed around eight million men and bled Europe dry. In this provocative book Niall Ferguson asks: was the sacrifice worth it? Was it all really an inevitable cataclysm and were the Germans a genuine threat? Was the war, as is often asserted, greeted with popular enthusiasm? Why did men keep on fighting when conditions were so wretched? Was there in fact a death wish abroad, driving soldiers to their own destruction? The war, he argues, was a disaster - but not for the reasons we think. Far worse than a tragedy, it was the greatest error of modern history.

'The most challenging and provocative analysis of the First World War to date' Ian Kershaw

'Must take a permanent place at the top of the War's historiography. It is one of the very few books whose own scale matches that of the events it describes' Alan Clark, Daily Telegraph

'Possibly the most important book to appear in years both on the origins of the First World War ... Ferguson can confidently claim to have inherited A. J. P. Taylor's mantle' Paul Kennedy, New York Review of Books

'At one massive stroke, Niall Ferguson has transformed the intellectual landscape' Economist
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Product details

  • Paperback | 672 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 30mm | 505g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New ed.
  • portraits
  • 0140275231
  • 9780140275230
  • 42,430

Review Text

The most challenging and provocative analysis of the First World War to date Ian Kershaw
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Review quote

At one massive stroke, Niall Ferguson has transformed the intellectual landscape * Economist * Possibly the most important book to appear in years both on the origins of the First World War ... Ferguson can confidently claim to have inherited A. J. P. Taylor's mantle -- Paul Kennedy * New York Review of Books * Brilliant and stimulating ... radical, readable and convincing * The Times * Must take a permanent place at the top of the War's historiography. It is one of the very few books whose own scale matches that of the events it describes -- Alan Clark * Daily Telegraph * The most challenging and provocative analysis of the First World War to date -- Ian Kershaw
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About Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson is one of Britain's most renowned historians. He is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, and a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He is the author of fifteen books, including The Pity of War, The House of Rothschild, Empire, Civilization and Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, which won the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize. He is an award-making filmmaker, too, having won an international Emmy for his PBS series The Ascent of Money. His many other prizes include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013). He writes a weekly column for the Sunday Times, for which he was named Columnist of the Year at the 2018 British Press Awards.
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Rating details

2,197 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 28% (619)
4 38% (834)
3 24% (528)
2 7% (164)
1 2% (52)
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