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The most remarkable thing about the war, Ferguson shows us, is how shockingly unexpected it was. At a time when economic integration and technology seemed to be rendering war between great powers impossible, World War I was the moment when that process went into reverse and the lethal forces of ethnic disintegration took over. Now, on the cusp of the 100th anniversary of its outbreak, we can see World War I as much more than just four years of industrialized slaughter. Weaving together the economics of empire and the ideology of race—and featuring an original preface by the author as well a teaser from his new paperback Civilization—The Abyss is world history at its finest.