Great book if you enjoy engrossing history lectures.
Keegan manages to focus both on the details of the individuals and the greater political theater in which they operated. Somewhat higher level views of battles. Just enough details about trench warfare, the appearance of mechanized cavalry and equipment of the average soldier.
Covers the global theater of operations and not just the better known eastern and western European fronts. Includes the action among the colonial states in Africa that are usually given short shrift. Great detail on the political and strategic elements behind the Gallipoli campaign, Jutland, and the modernization of naval forces in both Britain and Germany.
Not the best book to listen to while driving. I listened to it twice back-to-back while commuting to work. Absorbed maybe a third of it. Has great 're-readability' potential.
This guy is a great writer, despite his penchant for 200 word sentences. This is how he opens the book:
The First World War was a tragic and unnecessary conflict. Unnecessary because the train of events that led to its oubreak might have been broken at any point during the five weeks of crisis that preceded the first clalsh of arms, had prudence or common goodwill found a voice; tragic because the consequences of the first clash ended the lives of ten million human beings, tortured the emotional lives of millions more, destroyed the benevolent and optimistic culture of the European continent and left, when the guns at last fell silent four years later, a legacy of political rancour and racial hatred so intense that no explanation of the causes of the Second World War can stand without reference to those roots...
This book is an in-depth look at the first world war. It opens up with the statement that you cannot understand the second world war without first understanding the first. It is written by an English historian and it shows because the Americans don't show up until the last chapter. I don't often read history, but when I do, this is the kind of quality I wish to read.