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Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914

Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914
Max Hastings

A magisterial chronicle of the calamity that crippled Europe in 1914.1914: a year of unparalleled change. The year that diplomacy failed, Imperial Europe was thrown into its first modernised warfare and white-gloved soldiers rode in their masses across pastoral landscapes into the blaze of machine–guns. What followed were the costliest days of the entire War. But how had it happened?In Catastrophe: 1914 Max Hastings, best-selling author of the acclaimed All Hell Let Loose, answers at last how World War I could ever have begun. Ranging across Europe, from Paris to St. Petersberg, from Kings to corporals, Catastrophe 1914 traces how tensions across the continent kindled into a blaze of battles; not the stalemates of later trench-warfare but battles of movement and dash where Napoleonic tactics met with weapons from a newly industrialised age. A searing analysis of the power-brokering, vanity and bluff in the diplomatic maelstrom reveals who was responsible for the birth of this catastrophic world in arms. Mingling the experiences of humbler folk with the statesmen on whom their lives depended, Hastings asks: whose actions were justified?From the out-break of war through to its terrible making, and the bloody gambles in Sarajevo and Mons, Le Cateau, Marne and Tannenberg, this is the international story of World War I in its most severe and influential period. Published to coincide with its 100th Anniversary, Catastrophe: 1914 explains how and why this war, which shattered and changed the Western world for ever, was fought.

Copyright (#ulink_db1a8288-f5a8-5c9b-b3e2-7b09df9a70a4)

William Collins

A imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published in Great Britain by William Collins in 2014

Copyright © Max Hastings 2013

Max Hastings asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Source ISBN: 9780007519743

Ebook Edition © 2014 ISBN: 9780007519750

Version: 2016-02-22

From the reviews of Catastrophe: (#ulink_3686e3f0-4d30-5844-ae25-fc767ce6fb8f)

‘Hastings is a brilliant guide to that strange, febrile twilight before Europe plunged into darkness. Writing in pungent prose suffused with irony and underpinned by a strong sense of moral outrage, Catastrophe is a frontal assault on what Hastings calls the “poets’ view” of the First World War. Hastings is crisp, and definitive on the balance of guilt … Scholarly and fluent, relating with equal verve the attitudes and experiences of crowned heads and peasants … for anyone wanting to understand how that ghastly, much-misunderstood conflict came about, there could be no better place to start than this fine book’



Independent on Sunday, Books of the Year

‘Hastings is rightly regarded as Britain’s most accomplished military historian … Hugely entertaining’

DOMINIC SANDBROOK, Sunday Times, Books of the Year

‘Like one of Field Marshal Haig’s family whiskies, Max Hastings is a dram that steadily improves with age. His position as Britain’s leading military historian is now unassailable. In this enormously impressive new book, Hastings effortlessly masters the complex lead-up to and opening weeks of the First World War … [He] is as magisterial as we would expect … he soars across frontiers to take in every theatre, describing half-forgotten campaigns with the same verve and élan that he brings to more familiar clashes … Magnificent’

NIGEL JONES, Sunday Telegraph

‘Admirably scholarly yet reads as if the subject had never been written about before. No book is definitive, but this one will be hard to better’

PHILIP ZIEGLER, Spectator, Books of the Year

‘Hastings over the past two decades has become the premier contemporary historian of 20th-century war … The real strength of this story is how Hastings portrays the principal characters as very real human beings with as many flaws as virtues … Will the past be prologue? Get this book’

Washington Times

‘One could scarcely ask for a better guide to these horrors than Max Hastings … he is a superb writer with a rare gift for evoking the rhythm, mood and raw physical terror of battle. In this book he has not merely chronicled the evolving character of the European battlescapes, he has captured the contemporary shock of a new form of warfare … A first-class narrative’

Mail on Sunday

‘Excellent … What makes this book really stand out is Hastings’ deliberate efforts to puncture what he labels the many myths and legends of the events of 1914 … a highly readable account of a war that destroyed three dynasties, remade the map of Europe and set the state for mankind’s bloodiest century’

JERRY LENABURG, New York Journal of Books

‘A volume of great scope … he sweeps eagle-like over vast battlefields making the huge complexity of battle comprehensible with a pithy anecdote or a dismissive phrase … Vivid and informative’

Times Literary Supplement

‘Nothing short of a masterpiece … By bringing us the voices of the young men from all sides caught in the maws of these battles, we not only get a visceral sense of what it looked and sounded and smelled like, but an appreciation for the commonality of the horror befalling them. Wrenching and unforgettable’


‘A year ahead of the centenary of the Great War comes this howitzer of an offering from Max Hastings, who has skilfully blended new first-hand material from peasants and housewives to generals and emperors into a seamless, vivid and compelling narrative. His quest, he tells us, is to answer the question: “What happened to Europe in 1914?” He achieves this with aplomb, skilfully blending new first-hand material from all the major combatants – from peasants and housewives to generals and emperors – into a seamless, vivid and compelling pan-European narrative. Superbly detailed and nuanced … Hastings is a master of the pen portrait and the quirky fact … yet his greatness as a historian – never shown to better effect than in this excellent book – lies in his willingness to challenge entrenched opinion’

SAUL DAVID, Evening Standard

‘Told with an equal richness of detail and sure narrative sweep’

DAVID CRANE, Spectator

‘Magnificent … [this] book will take a lot of beating … Hastings writes with an enviable grasp of pace and balance, as well as an acute eye for human detail. Even for readers who care nothing for the difference between a battalion and a division, his book is at once moving, provocative and utterly engrossing’

Sunday Times

‘Very readable … his account of the fighting on the Eastern front draws on powerful and unfamiliar material … Sir Max has retold it as well as any of his predecessors’


‘Vigorous and readable, making good use of the worm’s eye-view in diaries and letters home … splendidly well written – fluent, engaging, well paced and, despite the grim subject matter, often entertaining’

RICHARD OVERY, New Statesman

‘Hastings argues persuasively that the war’s opening phase had a unique character that merits closer study … Deft narrative and analysis’

Wall Street Journal

‘Hastings has produced a punchy, entertaining book that is strong on the failings of each nation’s military leaders in 1914 … Chapters paint vivid accounts of the horror and tedium that confronted ordinary soldiers’

Financial Times

‘The political and chattering classes are right to be worried: if any region today could cause a crisis comparable to that of 1914, it is the Middle East. They need a new book on the outbreak of World War I, and now they have it in Catastrophe. [Hastings is] an outstanding historian … a victorious foray’

HEW STRACHAN, New York Times

‘A magisterial, sweeping narrative … blisteringly caustic about the failures of Britain’s ossified high command … Reading Hastings, you often get the feeling that he should have been there at the crucial staff conferences. Catastrophe is yet another achievement to add to his previous triumphs’

Literary Review

‘A typically thrilling combination of verve and scholarship. He paints on the broadest possible canvas while retaining an eagle eye for the illuminating life, the singular experience, the remark that brings alive the stupidity, the courage and, above all, the confusion’

The Times

‘Hastings does an excellent job of assembling a chronicle of the war’s first few months … and skilfully marshals evidence assembled by several generations of scholars into a highly readable narrative that should be the last word on the subject’

New York Times Book Review

‘Immensely readable epic history’
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