In This Review

The First World War
The First World War
By John Keegan
Alfred A. Knopf, 1999, 512 pp

The product of a fine narrative historian at the top of his form, Keegan's history of the Great War does not reflect extensive research -- the vast literature on World War I would make that a lifelong study -- but highlights his admirable judgment and literary skill. Unlike many other historians, he knows how to get inside the skin of generals and, to a slightly lesser extent, politicians. Unavoidably, some subjects receive short shrift, and Keegan emphasizes the British war (and English sources) more than some experts might wish. But this is a very good book indeed, offering the best introduction in several decades to the conflict that molded this century's international relations. As handy a one-volume work as will be seen for some time.