The 100th Anniversary: A World War I Reading List

August 1, 2014 marks the hundred year anniversary of the out break of World War I. The world wide tragedy that took the lives of millions, wounded and crippled millions more, and forever reshaped society has fascinated and horrified authors for ages. Here is a World War I reading list that attempts to give you a sampling of new and (sometimes) classical non-fiction on the war.

Where it Begins

Not surprisingly, this being the beginning of the hundred year anniversary of a war that lasted four years, a lot of new books have come out recently reexamining the origins and opening 1913days of the war. We also included the classic of this type of World War I non-fiction.

1913: The Year Before the Storm by Florian Illies

1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War by Charles Emmerson

July 1914: Countdown to War by Sean McMeekin

The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan.

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings.

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark.

A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire by Geoffrey Wawro.

The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began by Jack Beatty.

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman


The Western Fronthundred

The Western Front is the part of the war most people are familiar with. Static trench complexes running from the English Channel to the Alps, mass charges into machine guns, etc etc. Not surprising there is quiet a bit in this area too. Here is just a sampling of it.

The Western Front by Richard Holmes

The Western Front Companion: The Complete Guide to How the Armies Fought for Four Devastating Years, 1914-1918 by Mark Adkin

Hundred Days: The Campaign that Ended World War I by Nick Lloyd

With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 by David Stevenson.

Attrition: The Great War on the Western Front, 1916 by Robin Neillands.


The Eastern Fronteaster

This is a lesser known but extremely important part of the war since it directly lead to the Russian Revolution and Russia’s withdrawal from the war.

The Eastern Front, 1914-1917 by Norman Stone.

Suicide of the Empires: The Battles on the Eastern Front, 1914-18 by Alan Clark


The Middle East and Other Fronts

Everyone has heard of Lawrence of Arabia and here are a few of the newer biographies on him as well as views of the war in some it’s lesser known fronts.

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson.lawrence

Lawrence of Arabia: Mirage of a Desert War by Adrian Greaves

Hell in the Holy Land: World War I in the Middle East by David R. Woodward

Gallipoli by Peter Hart .

World War I: The African Front by Edward Paice

A Soldier on the Southern Front: The Classic Italian Memoir of World War I by Emilio Lussu

The White War: Life and Death on the Italian front, 1915-1919 by Mark Thompson

America in the Waryork

The major European powers expended a lot of energy either trying to bring America in on their side or keeping them out. Many of the most recent books published on America in the war have focused on that process.

Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany’s Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America by Howard Blum.

Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne by Douglas V. Mastriano

The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War by Richard Rubin

The Zimmermann Telegram: Intelligence, Diplomacy, and America’s Entry into World War I by Thomas Boghardt.

Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I by Justus D. Doenecke


The War in the Air and on the Sea

World War I was the first war to see significant use of air power. It also saw a great many advances in sea power as well.castles

Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea by Robert K. Massie

The Great War at Sea, 1914-1918 by Richard Hough.

The First Air War, 1914-1918 by Lee Kennett.

The Illustrated Red Baron: The Life and Times of Manfred von Richthofen by Peter Kilduff.

Hero of the Angry Sky: The World War I Diary and Letters of David S. Ingalls, America’s First Naval Ace by Geoffrey L. Rossano

Every Day Life in the Trenches and at Home

Daily life both in the trenches and at home is a fascinating part of the war that many today have a hard time comprehending.

Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I by John Ellisfreedom

Daily Life During World War I by Neil M. Heyman

Home Front, 1914-1918: How Britain Survived the Great War by Ian F.W. Beckett.

Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Home Front During World War I by Ann Bausum

Civilians in a World at War, 1914-1918 by Tammy M. Proctor


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  1. Pingback: Staff Review: Diamonds Gold and War – Martin Meredith | READ THIS

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