Catalogue

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Dreadnought : Britain, Germany, and the coming of the great war /
Robert K. Massie.
edition
1st Ballantine Books ed.
imprint
New York : Ballantine Books, 1992, c1991.
description
xxxi, 1007 p., [32] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0345375564
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Ballantine Books, 1992, c1991.
isbn
0345375564
catalogue key
531762
 
Bibliography: p. [915]-921.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1991-09-27:
Massie's sweeping narrative centers around the naval rivalry between Britain and Germany after the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, highlighting it as one of the major tensions that led to the World War I. He recounts how Admiral John Fisher revolutionized the Royal Navy with the construction of the first modern battleship, H.M.S. Dreadnought, in 1906, and how Britain's ``splendid isolation'' ended when Fisher's German counterpart Admiral Alfred Tirpitz carried out Kaiser Wilhelm's directives for the construction of an equally modern German navy. The author describes the development of Wilhelm's self-described ``peculiar passion for the navy,'' nurtured during frequent boyhood visits to the seaside retreat of his beloved grandmother, Queen Victoria, on the Isle of Wight, into a dangerous resolve to turn Germany into a major naval, colonial and commercial power. Finally, Massie shows how Wilhelm's military machine and the system of alliances he created contributed directly to the outbreak of war in 1914. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Nicholas and Alexandra has written a richly satisfying account of the origins of the Great War. Photos. BOMC selection; author tour. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 1991-10-15:
This is a case study in the limits of a particular style of history. Massie's previous biographically focused narrative histories, Peter the Great ( LJ 9/15/80) and Nicholas and Alexandra ( LJ 7/67), succeeded intellectually because of the nature of autocratic decision making. The British and German systems were too complicated and too democratic to respond to a biographical focus. This massive volume, while reminding us of the importance of individuals in decision making, nevertheless ultimately misrepresents the Anglo-German rivalry as essentially a conflict of personalities. The naval race, purportedly the book's focus, is submerged in a sea of anecdotes about ministers and monarchs. Many are interesting; few are original. Moreover, neither Massie's text nor his bibliography shows significant traces of the immense body of German-language scholarship on this complex subject. Long and intricate for the general reader, this is incomplete for the serious student. Paul Kennedy's equally massive The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism (Allen & Unwin, 1980) is no less well written and provides a much more comprehensive account. BOMC main selection.-- D.E. Showalter, U.S. Air Force Acad., Colorado Springs (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, October 1992
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Summaries
Main Description
"A classic [that] covers superbly a whole era...Engrossing in its glittering gallery of characters." CHICAGO SUN-TIMES Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert K. Massie has written a richly textured and gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century's first great arms race. Massie brings to vivid life, such historical figures as the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz, the young, ambitious, Winston Churchill, the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow, and many others. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tratedy in his powerful narrative. Intimately human and dramatic, DREADNOUGHT is history at its most riveting.
Unpaid Annotation
"A classic [that] covers superbly a whole era...Engrossing in its glittering gallery of characters."CHICAGO SUN-TIMESPulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert K. Massie has written a richly textured and gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century's first great arms race. Massie brings to vivid life, such historical figures as the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz, the young, ambitious, Winston Churchill, the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow, and many others. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tratedy in his powerful narrative. Intimately human and dramatic, DREADNOUGHT is history at its most riveting.

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