Catastrophe: A book on The Great War

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CatastropheI finished reading “Catastrophe – Europe goes to war 1914” today. It took me quite a while to get through it and not because I was not interested in it’s content. I enjoyed the book. It took a bit because I didn’t give myself too much time to read in the last bit.

Having read another book on The Great War (World War 1) earlier in the year I already had some knowledge on the thinking and attitudes of the time and on the basic history of the events that took place leading into this massive conflict. But that book “The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914” primarily dealt with the years leading up to the beginning of the First World War.

This book (Catastrophe) dealt with part of the lead up but also with the first months of the conflict.

Many aspects of this part of history certainly fascinates me. How patriotism became so strong as to help those signing up to serve their respective countries in this massive conflict that they were fighting “the good fight”.

This conflict also brought in a huge shift in warfare itself with the introduction of heavy artillery, more advanced machine guns and also the beginning of the armament and tactical use of the skies on enemies.

Armies from long ago would wear more traditional uniforms but with the advancements in arms wearing traditional blue or red uniforms meant you were easy target for snipers or machine gun fire. Also, that more “romantic” or “heroic” notion of leading a charge on a horse towards your enemy meant almost certain death.

There is also mention of the “media” of the time and how papers would censor and control the information published in order to keep a control over public perception.

I’m always fascinated by history. In how we humans, who sincerely believe ourselves just and “civilised” have repeatedly, throughout history, fought countless wars. The suffering of millions is repeated. Even in today’s age. We repeat many of the same basic actions and carry a tradition of suffering to new generations of people.

If you’re interested in reading about the First World War, this book will give you a taste of the lead up and a look into the attitudes that plagued the countries involved. It also takes the reader into the first months of the war, the losses and some of the hard lessons that were learned by all the nations.

I will be looking for a book that chronicles the 4 year period of World War 1.