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‘Catastrophe 1914’ by Max Hastings and ‘The War That Ended Peace’ by Margaret MacMillan
By Gerard DeGroot, Published: November 28

Americans often have difficulty understanding the grip that World War I exercises upon European consciousness. World War II, after all, seems more important and was more destructive. For Europeans, however, the earlier contest represents a horrible chasm between sublime grandeur and bleak modernity. Prodigious losses provided a cruel counterpoint to expectations of a short and glorious war. “We are readying ourselves to enter a long tunnel full of blood and darkness,” André Gide correctly predicted in July 1914. The immense destruction seems all the more tragic because the war lacked clear cause and noble purpose.

A century after its outbreak, Europeans remain obsessed with the 1914-18 war; they still find it difficult to shoulder its heavy burden. The deluge of books that will mark the war’s centenary is proof of this obsession. A market for these books exists because the war bewilders, frustrates and angers those who seek understanding. Yet as new books by Margaret MacMillan and Max Hastings reveal, the war’s most profound conundrums continue to evade solution.


The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
Christopher Clark



How Europe Went to War in 1914

By Christopher Clark.
Harper, $29.99.
Clark manages in a single volume to provide a comprehensive, highly readable survey of the events leading up to World War I. He avoids singling out any one nation or leader as the guilty party. “The outbreak of war,” he writes, “is not an Agatha Christie drama at the end of which we will discover the culprit standing over a corpse.” The participants were, in his term, “sleepwalkers,” not fanatics or murderers, and the war itself was a tragedy, not a crime.

ちなみにエコノミストはThe War that Ended Peaceを選んでいました。

The War that Ended PeaceThe War that Ended Peace
Margaret Macmillan


The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914.
By Margaret MacMillan. Random House; 739 pages; $35. Profile Books; £25.
How Europe (and the world) could have avoided the grief and ruin of war if its leaders had been wiser and more far-sighted. The centenary of the start of the first world war is generating an unprecedented wave of books. Margaret MacMillan’s is one that should not be missed.

ちなみにThe War that Ended PeaceというタイトルはThe war to end warという第一次世界大戦の参戦のお題目を揶揄してのものかもしれません。The war to end warと聞いて、第一次世界大戦のことを指しているとすぐに分かるというのも語学力と言えるでしょう。

The war to end war
"The war to end war" (sometimes called "The war to end all wars")[1] was a term for World War I. Originally idealistic, it is now used mainly in a disparaging way.[2]

During August 1914, immediately after the outbreak of the war, British author and social commentator H. G. Wells published a number of articles in the London newspapers that subsequently appeared as a book entitled The War That Will End War.[3] Wells blamed the Central Powers for the coming of the war, and argued that only the defeat of German militarism could bring about an end to war.[4] Wells used the shorter form, "the war to end war", in In the Fourth Year (1918), where he noted that the phrase had "got into circulation" in the second half of 1914.[5] In fact, it had become one of the most common catchphrases of the war.[4]
In later years, the term became associated with Woodrow Wilson, despite the fact that Wilson used the phrase only once.[6] Along with the phrase "make the world safe for democracy," it embodied Wilson's conviction that America's entry into the war was necessary to preserve human freedom.[6]

CATASTROPHE 1914についてはKirkus Reviewが今年の本に選んでいました。WSJの書評もメモ代わりにリンクを載せておきます。

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to WarCatastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War
Max Hastings


by Max Hastings
"Among the plethora of brilliant accounts of this period, this is one of the best."
Does the world need another book on that dismal year? Absolutely, if it's by Hastings (Inferno: The World at War, 1939–1945, 2011, etc.). After many accounts of World War II, the veteran military historian tries his hand, with splendid results.

Book Review: 'Catastrophe 1914,' by Max Hastings
Massed charges against Germans with artillery and machine guns cost two French corps 60,000 casualties in one World War I battle.
Oct. 10, 2013 7:17 p.m. ET