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It was Winston Churchill who wrote, "No part of the Great War compares in interest with its opening." It was as if in response to the words that Sir Max Hastings has written one of the most brilliant history books I have ever read. That a historian best known for his Second World War narratives would be able to create such a masterpiece about this earlier global conflict still boggles my mind. Catastrophe 1914 manages to be both an erudite history of the myopic leadership that led to a war that killed 9 million people and a completely arresting account of how common people experienced this unfolding cataclysm. The wealth of arresting historical detail is nothing less than astonishing; I reread numerous paragraphs just to re-savor their richness.
—R.J. Wilson, Bookseller, #1002, New York NY