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  • The First World War

  • A Complete History
  • Written by: Martin Gilbert
  • Narrated by: Roger Clark
  • Length: 33 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It was to be the war to end all wars, and it began at 11:15 on the morning of June 28, 1914, in an outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire called Sarajevo. It would officially end nearly five years later. Unofficially, however, it has never ended: Many of the horrors we live with today are rooted in the First World War.

The Great War left millions of civilians and soldiers maimed or dead. It also saw the creation of new technologies of destruction: tanks, planes, and submarines; machine guns and field artillery; poison gas and chemical warfare. It introduced U-boat packs and strategic bombing, unrestricted war on civilians and mistreatment of prisoners. But the war changed our world in far more fundamental ways than these.

In its wake, empires toppled, monarchies fell, and whole populations lost their national identities. As political systems and geographic boundaries were realigned, the social order shifted seismically. Manners and cultural norms; literature and the arts; education and class distinctions; all underwent a vast sea change.

©1994 Martin Gilbert (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about The First World War

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good book

I was recommended this book by the great war videos and Indy Neidell's videos

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  • Xyo
  • 2022-07-25

Eye opening

Simply incredible. The attention to detail, the personal stories, the poems, the overview of events. It is clear a great deal of research went into the writing of this book, and I could not imagine a better narrator to present it either.

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  • Joseph
  • 2020-08-03

The narative was excellent, the performer was just

Mr. Gilbert's narrative starts a bit slow but soon builds into a well researched history. I especially appreciated the increased detail on the participation of the United States military and the relationships between Petan, Haig and, Pershing.

Mr. Clark's narration leaves something to be desired. His frequent use of alternative pronunciations for many people and place names is unsettling. I'm not sure who may be responsible for preparing the pronunciation key for the narrator needs to do a better job. The Russian city is spelled Archangel NOT Archangle.

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  • troy a myers
  • 2020-07-27

Unbiased true facts of the first world war

I found this book truly enlightening. Being an American marine corps veteran and seeking to understand the causes of war i found this book very educational. The history of the tragedies of Europe have helped me identify why Americans aren’t able to fully understand the cost of war. And the causes of current strife

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  • Christian P.
  • 2021-02-11

Good book, poor narrator

It is an otherwise good book dragged down by a really boring and dry narration.

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  • James Wilson
  • 2021-07-11

Good history, but too many individual stories

I was new to WWI history and this book definitely gave the broad overview I was looking for. My only complaint is that there are too many stories and poems about individual people. The author warns in the beginning that he will do this, so it's hard to complain too much, but the book could probably be 2 hours shorter just by cutting out all the poem and letter excerpts. It is also very much the Allied's history of the war, so it doesn't offer much to those looking for more insight about German and Austro-Hungarian perspectives.

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  • john w.
  • 2021-07-14

great 👍

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  • Nicholas
  • 2020-12-06

Must-listen for history buffs

Martin Gilbert's work is remarkable in his ability to be comprehensive on the macro scale but never more than a couple sentences from weaving in the lived experiences of soldiers and civilians on the ground collected from countless diaries and interviews. You *feel* this war alongside understanding it. A master work.

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  • JOHN M SNARSKI
  • 2020-10-23

Good perspective history, terrible narrator

This huge story is thoughtfully told by Martin Gilbert and keeps your interest with a combination of grand strategic military topics and personal stories.

The narrator seems determined to mispronounce as many names as he can. Foch, Haig, Archangel and Cavell are just a few. Just occasionally he drops his pompous mispronunciations and uses the correct pronunciation. This is a small issue but it becomes very annoying over the 33 1/2 hours of listening.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-12-30

way too much english bias.not a good read

the narrator was great.the book itself stank.entirely too much "england is great"sentiment that isnt deserved.england could have done way more to stop this and didnt and at versailles the allies could have prevented hitlers rise by not being short sighted and selfish.the allies really dropped a lot of balls before and after the war

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  • Beau StJ
  • 2022-07-31

Worth the effort.

For my tastes this was a wonderful and thorough history. It was a bit dry at times but I found the descriptions of the overwhelming brutality was moving, even though the writing style does not change. It was well worth the listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2022-06-27

Amazing book

One of the best WW1 history books I've ever heard. highly recommend if looking to learn more about WW1 with stories of people who also involved in WW2.