This book is going to be my Ypres, as it will take quite the battle (maybe three battles) to get through this dense writing - a judgement I am making solely on reading just the introduction alone. Holy academic writing Batman! There doesn't seem to be much narrative storytelling, just a lot of who, what, and where - I hope I am wrong on this point.
This is not the book to start your discovery of WWI with - you need to get your feet wet and have a working background knowledge base before getting to this book. I am really glad I read Hochschild's book before taking this one on.
Also I am not sold on how the author sets up the book based on the table of contents; I am a linear reader, so an author has to build from the foundation up for me to follow and truly understand. This author decided to pay special attention to the Balkan/Serbia area first, then the 30+ years of European history prior to the war, then back to the Balkans/Serbia area for the July 1914 Crisis. I am thinking of reading the 30+ years part first, then the backstory of the Balkan region and then the July 1914 part so that it flows better in my head. I do admit that I am looking forward to having a special section devoted to the Balkans/Serbia area and its' backstory - that is one thing I haven't gotten any perspective on in the books I have read so far.