To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild

To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 - Adam Hochschild

An extremely gripping and yet comprehensive look at The Great War. This is very British centric piece of work, however there are ties to resisters/peace activists in Germany, France, and Russia mixed in. I didn't know anything about this book (or of Hochschild's writing, as he was a new to me author), so I didn't know I had put a book about the anti-war movement on my reading list. However, I am so glad I inadvertently did so, because this was a great book.

 

The book is divided into six parts, the first setting up both the people that the reader will follow through the book (even past the end of the war) and the political climates of the different regions playing a part in the war. In the case of Britain, the book starts in Omdurman and the Boer Wars as well as Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubliee. The reader is introduced to the major players in the military and government as well as the suffragettes, trade unionists, and other political and social reformers. Allies and rivals switch a lot in this book (*all the side eyes to you Emmeline Pankhurst*), so this part of the book is essential for understanding the ideology behind the British Empire and its' people.

 

Parts two through five go through each year in the war, with the follies, victories, and new weapons on each side given page space. It is some wonder that anyone survived the war considering the blunders and general dumb ass-ness of political and military leaders. Then there were the times/events that a government can only get away with in war time (example includes the Wheeldon trial). Mixed in were the other events going on at the time: unrest in Ireland (including the Easter Rebellion), the Russian Revolution, some women getting the right to vote, strikes and union activities. Nothing is left off the table here. Also noted time and again is when certain actions or thoughts are echoed in the Second World War.The final part to the book deals with the unrest in Britain post-war and the Treaty of Versailles that was more of a ticking time bomb. The end of the book follows the people to their deaths (natural or man-dictated).

 

If you want one book that comprehensively looks at the war from many different angles, I highly recommend this one.