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Dreadnought Dreadnought 1 by Robert K. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert K. Massie has written a richly textured and gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century's first great arms race. Massie brings to vivid life, such historical figures as the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz, the young, ambitious, Winston Churchill, the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Ber Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert K.
Massie brings to vivid life, such historical figures as the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz, the young, ambitious, Winston Churchill, the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow, and many others. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tratedy in his powerful narrative.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published September 15th by Ballantine Books first published October 29th More Details Original Title. Dreadnought 1. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Dreadnought , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Dreadnought.
Aug 29, Marcus rated it it was amazing. First the bad news — this book is not, strictly speaking, about the topic alluded to by the title.
Yes, the development of the British and German navies and effect of that arms race figures very prominently in the book, but it is by no means a book solely about those events. Rather, naval arms race between Great Britain and imperial Germany is used as a red thread binding together a story that starts in the middle of Victorian era and ends with the outbreak of the Great War.
The good news is that First the bad news — this book is not, strictly speaking, about the topic alluded to by the title. Massie manages to visualize all the main characters of the period and make them human. Furthermore, he weaves a mesmerizing slideshow of events, that first very slowly, but then with more and more momentum leads to one of humanity's greatest calamities. The end result is stunning.
History books often concentrate on proclamations, alliances and such. Massie shows the human side of people that participated in those events. It will come as a huge surprise how much effort was committed to stop the ball from rolling and how much personal despair the final outcome caused to those involved once they realized that nothing could stop the events from unfolding.
While nations of Europe sung as they marched to the slaughterhouse, most politicians wept. View 2 comments. Feb 24, Matt rated it it was amazing Shelves: maritime-history , world-war-i.
Dreadnought is the story of the naval arms race between England and Germany leading up to World War I. Now, anyone who has taken the time to think about World War I knows that it is a nearly-intractable subject when it comes its genesis. We all learn in school about the myriad entangling alliances, in which a number of triggers built into a series of treaties flipped one by one, like a perverse game of dominoes.
Germany's treaty with Austria Dual Alliance implicated by Austria's alliance with Serbia implicated by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand the man, not the band in Sarajevo. Then there was England and France's Entente Cordiale, an informal agreement triggered by France's engagement with Germany, which was, in turn, implicated by Germany's invasion of Belgium which was thought necessary to win any war with France.
Or something like that. We know the mechanics. The "how. Massey's theory, which is as good as any, I suppose, is that Kaiser Wilhelm's desire to have a top notch fleet butted roughly against England's necessity of controlling the oceans.
It's the old story of the two toughest kids on the block: the Island nation upon which the sun never set verses the great continental power forged by Bismark - in blood and iron - from former Prussian duchies.
Massey has been criticized as a historian. I don't know why, but I think it has something to do with the fact he can't speak German. Typical PhD pissing contest, I suppose. I love him, and I love his books. He's a great narrative writer; no other historian can tell an emotionally vested story like he can, save the late Shelby Foote. He's engaging and eloquent.
He takes the detail and vivid imagery from Tuchman's opening paragraph in The Guns of August and maintains that for pages. Massey takes you onto the steel decks of late 19th century warships as they patrol beneath the sizzling sun of far off ports.
He brings to life forgotten events, like the Kruger Telegram and the Jameson raid. More than anything else, though, he is a master biographer. There is a theory in history - the Great Man theory - that events are shaped by personalities. Massey evidently believes this. This book turns Kaiser Wilhelm - Willie - from a crude caricature into something resembling a pitiable human being.
The personalities pop off the page; you know them so well you start to root for them to succeed. The man who comes off best is England's foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey this is interesting, since Grey is much maligned in other histories I've read.
Grey is most famous for his ominous words on the eve of the First World War. As described by Massey: [Grey:] stopped for a moment, struggling for words. When he resumed, his eyes were filled with tears.
I feel like a man who has wasted his life. James's Park. It was then that the unpoetic Sir Edward Grey uttered the lines which memorably signaled the coming of the First World War. Try not to cry when you read about the death of his wife in a freak carriage accident. It reminds you that, despite what political scientists want you to believe, that the decisions of our world, big and small, are made by people laboring under the universal human condition.
My only problem: Massey is no Tom Clancy. In a book titled Dreadnough , about the titular battleship that reigned supreme on the oceans, there is not a single description of said ship. He throws some tonnage out, and the number of guns, but he never explains why this steel behemoth became so important - the nuclear weapons of the s.
It's a small quibble with one of my favorite books. View 1 comment. For those familiar with the facts of European diplomacy and defence in the period ca. It does not tell the neatly wrapped story of the origins of WWI, nor does it focus exclusively on the naval armaments race between the British and German empires.
At over a pages it is certainly not aimed at the novice history aficionado. Rather, it is a score written for the saga of this book has been praised to seventh heaven and back, what can I add? All aspects of the rising antagonism between the Great Powers of Europe make an appearance in the flesh, resurrected from contemporary sources down to entire conversations quoted ad verbatim.
Well-known tableaux such as the funeral of Edward VII which opened for the Guns of August and the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary printed to death are joined by episodes that usually warrant scant lines, even tough they are each marked as stepstones on the road to the outbreak of war: Here, the French brave the perils of the Sahara only to wearily watch a British flotilla approach Fashoda.
Here, the Kaiser's unruly horse ruins the majesty of his entry in Tangier; six years later a solitary, frustrated German merchant waves the gunboat "Panther" to shore in order to justify an armed intervention in Morocco. Here, two Jewish businessmen make a last-minute bid to ease the Anglo-German antagonism by inviting Lord Haldane for a mission.
The Leitmotif of the book is the naval race. Fisher's impact upon the development of the Dreadnought and the reorientation of naval defence towards protecting the Home Islands from the Hochseeflotte is similarky humanized and stripped of its inevitability. Here, the mercurial Fisher prevails thanks to his good rappport with the King, beset on all sides by powerful opponents within the naval establishment.
Dreadnought : Britain,Germany and the Coming of the Great War
Massie Illustrated. Random House. The first is a history of the naval race between Britain and Germany that contributed so heavily to the beginning of World War I. The second is a parade of royal and military personalities: peacock rulers who were jealous, wealthy, vainglorious and, almost to a man, more thick-skulled than heroic. Their actions would lead to the demise of the two dominant European empires and, far worse, cause the deaths of tens of millions of soldiers and civilians. Robert K.
Books of The Times; Naval Collision Course Meeting at World War I
Look Inside. Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tragedy in this powerful narrative. Massie [is] a master of historical portraiture and anecdotage. Robert K. He was president of the Authors Guild from to