Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914

Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914

Max Hastings / Feb 29, 2020
Catastrophe Europe Goes to War From the acclaimed military historian a new history of the outbreak of World War I the dramatic stretch from the breakdown of diplomacy to the battles the Marne Ypres Tannenberg that marked the fre
  • Title: Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914
  • Author: Max Hastings
  • ISBN: 9780007519743
  • Page: 353
  • Format: Paperback
  • From the acclaimed military historian, a new history of the outbreak of World War I the dramatic stretch from the breakdown of diplomacy to the battles the Marne, Ypres, Tannenberg that marked the frenzied first year before the war bogged down in the trenches In Catastrophe 1914, Max Hastings gives us a conflict different from the familiar one of barbed wire, mud aFrom the acclaimed military historian, a new history of the outbreak of World War I the dramatic stretch from the breakdown of diplomacy to the battles the Marne, Ypres, Tannenberg that marked the frenzied first year before the war bogged down in the trenches In Catastrophe 1914, Max Hastings gives us a conflict different from the familiar one of barbed wire, mud and futility He traces the path to war, making clear why Germany and Austria Hungary were primarily to blame, and describes the gripping first clashes in the West, where the French army marched into action in uniforms of red and blue with flags flying and bands playing In August, four days after the French suffered 27,000 men dead in a single day, the British fought an extraordinary holding action against oncoming Germans, one of the last of its kind in history In October, at terrible cost the British held the allied line against massive German assaults in the first battle of Ypres Hastings also re creates the lesser known battles on the Eastern Front, brutal struggles in Serbia, East Prussia and Galicia, where the Germans, Austrians, Russians and Serbs inflicted three million casualties upon one another by Christmas As he has done in his celebrated, award winning works on World War II, Hastings gives us frank assessments of generals and political leaders and masterly analyses of the political currents that led the continent to war He argues passionately against the contention that the war was not worth the cost, maintaining that Germany s defeat was vital to the freedom of Europe Throughout we encounter statesmen, generals, peasants, housewives and private soldiers of seven nations in Hastings s accustomed blend of top down and bottom up accounts generals dismounting to lead troops in bayonet charges over 1,500 feet of open ground farmers who at first decried the requisition of their horses infantry men engaged in a haggard retreat, sleeping four hours a night in their haste This is a vivid new portrait of how a continent became embroiled in war and what befell millions of men and women in a conflict that would change everything.
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      Max Hastings

    About "Max Hastings"

      • Max Hastings

        Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings, FRSL, FRHistS is a British journalist, editor, historian and author His parents were Macdonald Hastings, a journalist and war correspondent, and Anne Scott James, sometime editor of Harper s Bazaar.Hastings was educated at Charterhouse School and University College, Oxford, which he left after a year.After leaving Oxford University, Max Hastings became a foreign correspondent, and reported from than sixty countries and eleven wars for BBC TV and the London Evening Standard.Among his bestselling books Bomber Command won the Somerset Maugham Prize, and both Overlord and The Battle for the Falklands won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Prize.After ten years as editor and then editor in chief of The Daily Telegraph, he became editor of the Evening Standard in 1996 He has won many awards for his journalism, including Journalist of The Year and What the Papers Say Reporter of the Year for his work in the South Atlantic in 1982, and Editor of the Year in 1988.He stood down as editor of the Evening Standard in 2001 and was knighted in 2002 His monumental work of military history, Armageddon The Battle for Germany 1944 1945 was published in 2005.He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.Sir Max Hastings honoured with the 100,000 2012 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.


    1. Max Hastings is one of the better World War II writer historians working today In books like Armageddon, Retribution, and Inferno, he manages to be both accessible and sophisticated A general reader can enjoy his work, while a buff can learn something new If you want a finely chiseled, conventional wisdom defying nugget to toss in your friend s face while getting drunk with him at a bar, Hastings is the man to read His presentation is terse, stripped down, and shorn of bluster and encomiums Hast [...]

    2. With this latest book, Mr Hastings confirms my opinion that he is one of the two or three best military historians writing today This is an excellent look the last half of 1914 as Europe spiraled into abattoir that became known as the Great War He blends both high and low level views of the war to make a very readable volume.Mr Hastings looks at the causes of the war the strategic position of Germany and her desire to dominate Continental Europe, the weakness of Austria, Russia s desire to be th [...]

    3. A masterpiece of impeccable scholarship Exhaustive, very detailed and informative, beautifully researched, well written, riveting, an absolute pleasure to read and highly recommended to anybody interested in a serious, comprehensive treatment of the events leading to the start of WWI, and also of the major events of the first 5 months of the war, up to Christmas 1914 It is simply one of the best books that I ever read about WWI pity that it stops at the end of the year 1914 I really wish the bri [...]

    4. Catastrophe 1914 Europe Goes to War is an outstanding achievement by noted historian Max Hastings Hastings revisits the course of events from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand through Christmas 1914 and in doing so revises the conventional wisdom on German and Austrian war guilt for the Great War As Hew Strachan wrote in the NY Times Hastings fans will recognize the trademarks trenchant and Olympian judgments that eschew quirkiness in their pursuit of common sense and that are supple [...]

    5. In 1910 British General Henry Wilson told military students that a European war was likely One student responded that such a war would take inconceivable stupidity on the part of statesmen The general replied inconceivable stupidity is just what you are going to get The responsibility for WWI is endlessly argued Catching almost everyone by surprise, the war began precipitously as events quickly spun out of control On June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo in Bosnia, recently annexed by Austria Hungary, the A [...]

    6. I hate to do it but I can only give Catastrophe 1914 Europe Goes to War 4 Stars, definitely a step down from my normal man crush on everything Max Hastings scribbles down I had to take away a star for the buildup to August 1914 It may be unfair but I read Tuchman s The Guns of August a short time ago and was riveted at her account of the road to war Sir Max s account was simply not as good At times, I practically had to prop my eyelids open with toothpicks Tuchman had me on the edge of my seat w [...]

    7. Catastrophe deserves than 3 stars Probably 4 or even 5, but I have to say this is one of longest reads I ve had in some time I think I ve been reading this, on and off, for two months It isn t the writing, since if anything Hastings has grown as a writer His critical voice, his eye for the suffering soldiers and civilians, the calling out of stupid generals and politicians, is as good as it gets And on top of that, Catastrophe brings some much needed attention to events in the East Tannenburg, [...]

    8. Catastrophe 1914 Europe Goes to War is nearly twenty six hours of audio book covering the last six months of 1914 Last year being the 100th anniversary of The Great War has seen many WWI histories published I look to each of the many I have read for something new or different Granted writing a book takes a great deal of effort, but if it does not produce new knowledge, what is the point Most of the new histories do take up one or two pieces of new information, like the value of railroads in mobi [...]

    9. An exhaustive but readable account of the events of 1914 Hastings begins with the assassination of Ferdinand to the diplomatic machinations of the July crisis, to the outbreak of war in August Hastings covers all the military actions of 1914 with the right amount of detail, including those events that have been largely forgotten, such as the Austrian invasion of Serbia that actually marked the beginning of the war s military actions His treatment of the British Expeditionary Force is very good a [...]

    10. I have spent the past three years reading everything I can get my hands on about world war one Now that we are on the brink of the one hundredth anniversary of the Great War many new books are coming to market Catastrophe 1914 is one of them In 1930 Sir Winston Churchill wrote No part of the Great War compares in interest with its opening Max Hastings s book addresses only the last six months of 1914 The book is well researched and Hastings draws on a wide range of documents and firsthand accoun [...]

    11. A good wide ranging solid account of the first year of World War 1 covering both the strategic view and the view of the men and women in the front lines Also some myth busting of the early performance of the BEF.It was good to see attention to the often over looked eastern front.I found some of the language Hastings uses a bit too smart for my liking For example he keeps mentioning the German host when talking about the German armies Maybe it s just me, but I found this quite irritating.Nonethel [...]

    12. Catastrophe 1914, is an cronicle about the WWI The author examining the beginnings of the WWI, the Sarajevo assassinations, and follows the battlefield fighting the hellish conditions of the trenches during the 1914 The book covers whom and what started the conflict, the describes in vivid detail, the terrible tragedy of war Well researched, with internal doccuments of the Triple Entente nations and the Triple Alliance The major events from politics and military strategy, to the experiences of t [...]

    13. An excellent account of how Europe went to war in 1914 and the first months of the war Max Hastings presents, I think, a fairly balanced accounting of the arrogance, pig headedness, chauvinism and just plain stupidity that propelled Europe into a total war which would destroy three monarchies I would perhaps quibble with his laying a greater amount of blame on Germany and somewhat less on France While Kaiser Wilhelm could, had he been a sagacious and stronger man, have stopped the march to war, [...]

    14. O piteous spectacle O bloody times Whiles lions war and battle for their dens,Poor harmless lambs abide their enmity Wm Shakespeare King Henry VI, Part 3.Max Hasting s Catastrophe 1914 Europe Goes to War is a masterfully crafted account of Europe s descent into the apocalypse known as the Great War It is a study that focuses on Europe s sabre rattling lions who led millions headlong into the valley of the shadow of death It also provides a compelling parallel narrative of the lambs, civilian and [...]

    15. This is classic Max Hastings history writing at its finest Best known for his books on World War II, the author turns his sights to the outbreak of World War I and the initial campaigns in both the West and the East between August and December 1914 The result is an extremely well written narrative that brings not only the political and military personalities to life but also conveys the horrors of the war as experienced by front line officers, soldiers, and non combatants One of the strengths of [...]

    16. This is an excellent, comprehensive account of Europe s stumble into war during the 2d half of 1914, beginning with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, explaining the diplomatic moves by all the parties involved which led to open warfare, the opening months of the war characterized by maneuver, and, with the inability of either side to force a decision, the beginnings of static warfare in the trenches by Christmas.Hastings spends considerable time describing the great social upheaval [...]

    17. Hastings continues to impress at this point, I d read anything he writes A nice, in depth history of the run up to the war, and then a very detailed analysis of the first few months of the conflict Both fronts are covered in great detail, as are the home fronts For the armchair student of military history, this is the most interesting period of the war, with maneuver on a massive scale and competing militaries struggling, often unsuccessfully, to develop doctrine to cope with changes in technolo [...]

    18. Max Hasting s first book on World War One stands at an interesting point between existing books It doesn t fall neatly into the existing genres of books focused entirely on the causes of the Great War, nor histories of the whole war, nor histories focused on a single battle Even at the three quarters point reading it, I wasn t sure how this was working out It is good on the start of the war it was the Germans fault and on the initial battles of the Frontiers and Marne, but I ve read other books [...]

    19. American readers Take this British book with a grain of salt.Why Because while Max Hastings is very good on military tactical issues, and solid on strategic ones in the first shifting of his pen from World War II to World War I, he s close to being all wet on geopolitical issues related to the start of the war.First, the good.Hastings gives detailed coverage to the Eastern Front at the start of the war than do many WWI intros, which often talk about the battles of Tannenberg and Masurian Lakes, [...]

    20. De lo interesant simo a lo com n pero notable G nero Historia.Lo que nos cuenta El libro 1914 El a o de la cat strofe publicaci n original Catastrophe 1914 Europe Goes To War, 2013 es un repaso al a o 1914 en relaci n a la Gran Guerra, a las circunstancias nacionales entre los pa ses implicados, a las reacciones tras el magnicidio en Sarajevo, a las actitudes que mantuvieron mientras escalaba la tensi n y sus reacciones en el momento lgido para, despu s, sumergirse en la contienda a nivel t ctic [...]

    21. In Catastrophe 1914 Max Hastings a master historian of WWII ventures back in time to WWI It begins with details of the buildup of tensions in Europe between the Triple Entente Britain, France, and Russia and the Triple Alliance Germany, Austria Hungary, and Italy increasing militarism, especially in a Germany that was effectively run by the Army under a Kaiser enad of military pomp creation of alliances tying countries together in military pacts widespread labor unrest, revolutionary activity, a [...]

    22. Hastings is a wonderful writer and has mastered a substantial literature in French and German as well as English I think he presents balanced arguments about the major questions regarding the coming and conduct of the war He is not a supporter of the sleepwalker thesis European statesmen were deniers who refused to recognize the dangers of the policies that they were pursuing He further believes that a British failure to intervene would have allowed the Germans to defeat the French and Belgians [...]

    23. Is there anything really new under the sun to say about the outbreak of the First World War and the campaigns of its first 5 months Well, no, not really, but that doesn t stop one of my favorite military historians from giving it a good go, and your reading this book will not go unrewarded Taking into account the best of the last 20 years or so s historical research, Hastings has concluded that Germany and Austria bear the primary responsibility for the disaster that was WWI, and that preventing [...]

    24. I have nothing against Mr Hastings, and I commend and admire the effort and meticulous research he invested in creating this.But I have never read a duller book I lost count of the times I fell asleep trying to read it one such event cost me 60 in cab fare after I missed my Metra stop Even before that, however, I had commented on the abstruse method which which Hastings creates his sentences, with parenthetical and comma d editorial, comparisons with other historians views, and turning around of [...]

    25. It seems with the Centennial of 1914 this year a lot of books are coming out on the first world war This one covers the July crisis and the diplomatic meltdown that lead to the opening catastrophe of the twentieth century It then covers the mobilization and fighting in August the trench digging and stalemate after the battle of the Marne The war up to the end of the year It describes how Europe went from peace to a war that killed 10 million people and paved the way for an even worse conflict 25 [...]

    26. Very good book dealing with the lead up to the beginning and first few months of WWI It is well researched and written, and steers clear of the pitfalls that many books one WWI fall into No one will agree with everything an historian has to say one this topic, as the evidence is open to different interpretations, but this book goes into a lot of depth and is better than many.

    27. It was pretty good The author s objective was to have a lot of personal stories woven into the historical account, and that really didn t add a lot for me Plus, he ends the book after the fronts stop moving late 1914 , and pays pretty much no attention to the later albeit, boring trench warfare periods I would have liked a complete treatment.

    28. As usual a thought provoking and well researched book from Max Hastings He outlines the mobile war of late 1914 which most of us know little about although the horror is starting to form which later developed into the static hell until the armistice

    29. August 2014 will mark the one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of World War I It will probably also mark the onslaught of numerous additional books on the subject Stealing a march on that inevitable blitz, Knopf has published Catastrophe, 1914 Europe Goes to War, by distinguished British historian, Max Hastings As he has done several times before e.g Inferno about World War II , Hastings manages to take a well covered subject and invest it with fresh energy and absorbing commentary In descr [...]

    30. They are all dead A century after the outbreak of the Great War the combatants are gone, casualties of mortality The eminent British historian Max Hastings has written Catastrophe 1914 about the first five months of that war, now known as World War I, to mark the centennial of the war s beginning The Great War forever upset the prevailing global order, killed eight million people, and still shadows today s international affairs Catastrophe aptly communicates what the war wrought during its first [...]

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