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He writes so well and sympathetically, and chooses his detail so deftly, that if there is one new history of the war that you might actually enjoy from the very large centennial selection this is very likely it (The Times)
A fine introduction to the part Britain played in the first of the worst two wars in history. The writing is lively and the detail often surprising and memorable (Guardian)
Incisive, colourful. Paxman delves into every aspect of British life to capture the mood and morale of the nation - from the corridors of power to the factory shop floor (Daily Express ****)
Clever, laconic and racy. Paxman gets the balance right between political, military, economic and cultural points of view. There is a judicious mix between individual stories and the 'bigger picture' ... a book that engages the minds and emotions (Telegraph)
A procession of fascinating details ... he narrates with brio ... conveys the texture of the times ... write[s] with clarity and sympathy (Spectator)
Paxman is particularly good ... in showing how much a modern perspective distorts our understanding ... summarises well how class barriers were shattered ... refreshingly combative in arguing that the war was not futile (Prospect)
Mixing pragmatism with sardonic observation ... one is left with a better understanding of how the Great Britain that began the war became more like ordinary Britain, shorn of global power and prestige, by its end (Sunday Times)
A beautifully lucid account of the impact of the first World War on the British way of life . . . Blends anecdote with cold fact to create a picture not merely of what happened but also of how it felt to those involved (Irish Times)
Jeremy Paxman's magnificent history of the First World War tells the entire story of the war in one gripping narrative from the point of view of the British people.
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"He writes so well and sympathetically, and chooses his detail so deftly, that if there is one new history of the war that you might actually enjoy from the very large centennial selection this is very likely it" The Times
We may think we know about it, but what was life really like for the British people during the First World War?
The well-known images - the pointing finger of Lord Kitchener; a Tommy buried in the mud of the Western Front; the memorial poppies of remembrance day - all reinforce the idea that it was a pointless waste of life. So why did the British fight it so willingly and how did the country endure it for so long?
Using a wealth of first-hand source material, Jeremy Paxman brings vividly to life the day-to-day experience of the British over the entire course of the war, from politicians, newspapermen, campaigners and Generals, to Tommies, factory workers, nurses, wives and children, capturing the whole mood and morale of the nation. It reveals that life and identity in Britain were often dramatically different from our own, and show how both were utterly transformed - not always for the worst - by the enormous upheaval of the war.
Rich with personalities, surprises and ironies, this lively narrative history paints a picture of courage and confusion, doubts and dilemmas, and is written with Jeremy Paxman's characteristic flair for storytelling, wry humour and pithy observation.
"A fine introduction to the part Britain played in the first of the worst two wars in history. The writing is lively and the detail often surprising and memorable" Guardian
Jeremy Paxman is a renowned broadcaster, award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of seven works of non-fiction, including The English, The Political Animal and Empire.
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