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  • Amazin book, very well written

    A fine study of the pesonalities - some of them woefully unsuited for their positions - critical to the events leading to the First World War. I feel, however, that a couple of things may have been skimped on or skimmed over. Admiral Tirpitz's life-long fear of the battle of Copenhagen being repeated to destroy or capture the German fleet by the British, and the short coverage of Austria's Emperor Franz Josef - after all, he was the only ruling monarch in Europe to reign throughout the period in question. And I would have liked more info on how Austria had declined from the strongest power in continental Europe to an empire hanging onto existence by the skin of its teeth. Still, these are very minor points at best, this is a superb book. The Fisher-Beresford rivalry had been unknown to me, and so had the fact that Wilhelm II was unfit to rule was due to Bismarck's being caught off guard by the death of Wilhelm's father after scarcely 90 days on the throne - he needed to drop everything and grow Wilhelm up in a hurry. And, strangely, the death of Queen Victoria was the final step to making the war inevitable, as she was Wilhelm's only lifelong failsafe - she could get across to him the fact that he could be wrong. A book I would recommend to everyone with an interest in the period!

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