An exemplary study of that central problem of our century. Minutely researched, broadly conceived, lucidly presented, the book, combining narrative and analysis in admirable balance, presents the many strains and stages of conflict. The conclusions may be less startling than the details but at least they are now firmly established: "The most profound cause, surely, was economic . . . [but] it took the sublime genius of the Prussian General Staff [the Schlieffen Plan] to provide the occasion for turning that antagonism into war." Beyond the economic and the strategic was the challenge of German power and British resolve to preserve its own. A book of importance, by a young British historian with a record of prodigious productivity in historical and strategic studies.