To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

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Overview

World War I stands as one of history?s most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation. In a riveting, suspenseful narrative with haunting echoes for our own time, Adam Hochschild brings it to life as never before. He focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war?s critics, alongside its generals and heroes. Thrown in jail for their opposition to the war were Britain?s leading investigative journalist, a future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and an editor who, behind bars, published...

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To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

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Overview

World War I stands as one of history’s most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation. In a riveting, suspenseful narrative with haunting echoes for our own time, Adam Hochschild brings it to life as never before. He focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war’s critics, alongside its generals and heroes. Thrown in jail for their opposition to the war were Britain’s leading investigative journalist, a future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and an editor who, behind bars, published a newspaper for his fellow inmates on toilet paper. These critics were sometimes intimately connected to their enemy hawks: one of Britain’s most prominent women pacifist campaigners had a brother who was commander in chief on the Western Front. Two well-known sisters split so bitterly over the war that they ended up publishing newspapers that attacked each other. 

Today, hundreds of military cemeteries spread across the fields of northern France and Belgium contain the bodies of millions of men who died in the “war to end all wars.” Can we ever avoid repeating history?

Winner of the 2012 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In college, I read a good narrative history of World War I, but left off even before the Americans had entered the conflict. The numbing succession of suicidal advances and trench warfare slaughters finally got to me. I picked up Adam Hochschild's To End All Wars because I knew that he had a flair for narrative: Years ago, I read his King Leopold's Ghost and I have followed his writings in The New Yorker and elsewhere. His new book is different from anything else I've seen on WWI. Like The War Lovers, with which it has valuable parallels, it takes us inside the minds of Brits who marched happily off to war and, particularly in Hochshild's case, those who would not. To End All Wars pays equal attention to those who embraced almost any call to arms, and those, very frequently women, who refused to do so. He shows how the fight for women's rights and social justice was intertwined with anti-war sentiments. This is a first-rate history that I would recommend to any avid reader. —R.J. Wilson, Bookseller, #1002, New York NY

Christopher Hitchens
…moving and important…Hochschild has distinguished himself as a historian "from below," as it were, or from the viewpoint of the victims. He stays loyal to this method in To End All Wars, concentrating on the appalling losses suffered by the rank and file and the extraordinary courage of those who decided that the war was not a just one…This is a book to make one feel deeply and painfully, and also to think hard.
—The New York Times
Jonathan Yardley
Adam Hochschild does many things well in this account of World War I as experienced by Great Britain, not least taking a very familiar story and making it new…Hochschild writes sharp portraits of the many men and women, some of them warriors and some of them doves, who come under his microscope, and he is fair to them all. His depiction of life in the trenches is so vivid that some readers may have difficulty stomaching it, as is also true of his account of the awful battles at the Somme and Passchendaele; his ultimate judgment of "the war's madness" is fully earned by the evidence he presents. To End All Wars is exemplary in all respects.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
WWI remains the quintessential war—unequaled in concentrated slaughter, patriotic fervor during the fighting, and bitter disillusion afterward, writes Hochschild. Many opposed it and historians mention this in passing, but Hochschild, winner of an L.A. Times Book Award for Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves, has written an original, engrossing account that gives the war's opponents (largely English) prominent place. These mostly admirable activists include some veteran social reformers like the formidable Pankhursts, who led violent prosuffrage demonstrations from 1898 until 1914, and two members of which enthusiastically supported the war while one, Sylvia, opposed it, causing a permanent, bitter split. Sylvia worked with, and was probably the lover of, Keir Hardie, a Scotsman who rose from poverty to found the British Labor party. Except for Bertrand Russell, famous opponents are scarce because most supported the war. Hochschild vividly evokes the jingoism of even such leading men of letters as Kipling, Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, and John Galsworthy. By contrast, Hochschild paints equally vivid, painful portraits of now obscure civilians and soldiers who waged a bitter, often heroic, and, Hochschild admits, unsuccessful antiwar struggle. (May)
From the Publisher
"In this deeply moving history of the so-called Great War, those opposing its mindless folly receive equal billing with the politicians, generals, and propagandists obdurately insisting on its perpetuation. Implicit in Adam Hochschild's account is this chilling warning: once governments become captive of wars they purport to control, they turn next on their own people."—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War

"Adam Hochschild is the rare historian who fuses deep scholarship with novelistic flair. In his hands, World War I becomes a clash not only of empires and armies, but of individuals: king and Kaiser, warriors and pacifists, coal miners and aristocrats. Epic yet human-scaled, this is history for buffs and novices alike, a stirring and provocative exploration of the Great War and the nature of war itself". -Tony Horwitz, author of A Voyage Long and Strange

"In prose as compelling as a masterful novel, Hochschild illuminates the lives of those who consigned millions to oblivion, and also introduces us to those who fiercely opposed the carnage—those who imagined, as we might, that the world could be otherwise. We emerge from this exemplary book with the knowledge that war is not inevitable, and those who work for its abolition inherit their dedication from sane men and women of great moral strength who recognized, as we must, that the future depended upon them.  Hochschild’s accomplishment, as a writer and historian, is formidable and inspiring."- Carolyn Forché, editor of AGAINST FORGETTING: 20th Century Poetry of Witness

"The lives of the author’s many characters dovetail elegantly in this moving, accessible book...An ambitious narrative that presents a teeming worldview through intimate, human portraits."- Kirkus Reviews

"An original, engrossing account that gives the war's opponents (largely English) prominent place . . . Hochschild paints equally vivid, painful portraits of now obscure civilians and soldiers who waged a bitter, often heroic, and, Hochschild admits, unsuccessful antiwar struggle."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"In this deeply moving history of the so-called Great War, those opposing its mindless folly receive equal billing with the politicians, generals, and propagandists obdurately insisting on its perpetuation. Implicit in Adam Hochschild's account is this chilling warning: once governments become captive of wars they purport to control, they turn next on their own people."—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War

"Adam Hochschild is the rare historian who fuses deep scholarship with novelistic flair. In his hands, World War I becomes a clash not only of empires and armies, but of individuals: king and Kaiser, warriors and pacifists, coal miners and aristocrats. Epic yet human-scaled, this is history for buffs and novices alike, a stirring and provocative exploration of the Great War and the nature of war itself".— Tony Horwitz, author of A Voyage Long and Strange

"The lives of the author’s many characters dovetail elegantly in this moving, accessible book... An ambitious narrative that presents a teeming worldview through intimate, human portraits."—Kirkus Reviews

"An original, engrossing account that gives the war's opponents (largely English) prominent place ... Hochschild paints equally vivid, painful portraits of now obscure civilians and soldiers who waged a bitter, often heroic, and, Hochschild admits, unsuccessful antiwar struggle." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Riveting... [Hochschild] has assembled an irresistible, unforgettable cast of characters."—Associated Press

"Superb... Brilliantly written and reads like a novel... [Hochschild] gives us yet another absorbing chronicle of the redeeming power of protest."—Star-Tribune

"This is the kind of investigatory history Hochschild pulls off like no one else… Hochschild is a master at chronicling how prevailing cultural opinion is formed and, less frequently, how it's challenged."—NPR's Fresh Air, Maureen Corrigan

"This is a book to make one feel deeply and painfully, and also to think hard."—Christopher Hitchens, New York Times Book Review

"Hochschild brings fresh drama to the story, and explores it in provocative ways . . . Exemplary in all respects."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

"Hochschild has once again produced a moving account of one of the most terrible events of the recent past, bringing this story to life like few historians writing today." —Seattle Times

"Compelling . . . A gifted storyteller, with an eye for the telling detail, Hochschild effectively and eloquently brings to life the senselessness of the war."— Oregonian

Library Journal
At the end of this book, Hochshild (narrative writing, Graduate Sch. of Journalism, Univ. of California, Berkeley; King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa) writes that if only one event of the 20th century could be "undone," it should be World War I; many readers will agree with this statement. Covering almost exclusively the British perspective, he here tells the story of World War I through the eyes of its most prominent supporters and detractors. Hochschild's own sympathies lie with the conscientious objectors, socialists, and pacifists who opposed the war but were drowned out by the general public, politicians, and generals. The author is at his best when he describes horrible ironies of the war, such as a Swiss-arranged trade of essential war materials between Great Britain and Germany so the governments could more efficiently send their own soldiers to be slaughtered. VERDICT This book shares a similar thesis with David Stevenson's Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy and will be appreciated by anyone interested in the history of World War I or the stories of war dissenters.—Michael Farrell, Reformed Theological Seminary Lib., Oviedo, FL
Kirkus Reviews

From historian Hochschild (Bury the Chains: The First International Human Rights Movement, 2005, etc.), a selective history of the slaughter of innocents in World War I.

WWI effected the rupture of civilization on many levels—the efficacy of war machinery for mass murder, the collapse of colonial empires, the destabilization of the status quo by modern ideas such as socialism, women's suffrage and national self-determination—and the author skillfully harnesses these numerous and often contradictory currents. Hochschild focuses on Britain and many of the significant, prominent or otherwise typical protagonists whose lives and work underscored the cataclysmic changes in this era, from loyal aristocrats to pacifists and conscientious objectors. Among dozens of others, the characters include military leaders Douglas Haig and Alfred Milner, who led the war effort against the later aggressions of Germany and Austria-Hungary; Charlotte Despard, whose work with the Battersea poor prompted her to become a committed socialist and pacifist; and Rudyard Kipling, whose writing cast a nostalgic enchantment around the British empire. Hochschild plunges into the war year by year, 1914–18, when Britain swung from a country eager to fight the Germans, despite labor unrest, Irish agitation for home rule and antiwar demonstrations, to utterly stricken and bereft, with unbelievablenumbers of young men cut down in the trenches. Britain had "declared that the very fundamentals of civilization were at stake," yet the war wrought unfathomable carnage andprofoundquestions about its purpose. The lives of the author's many characters dovetail elegantly in this moving, accessible book.

An ambitious narrative that presents a teeming worldview through intimate, human portraits.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547750316
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 96,950
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Adam Hochschild

ADAM HOCHSCHILD has written for The New Yorker , Harper's , The New York Review of Books , Granta , The New York Times Magazine , and many other newspapers and magazines. In King Leopold’s Ghost, Bury the Chains, and other books, Hochschild has earned a reputation as a master of suspense and vivid character portrayal. His skill at evoking such struggles for justice has made him a finalist for the National Book Award and won him a host of other prizes.

Biography

Adam Hochschild was born in New York City in 1942. His first book, Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son, was published in 1986. It was followed by The Mirror at Midnight: A South African Journey (1990) and The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin (1994). Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels won the 1998 PEN/Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award for the Art of the Essay.

Hochschild's books have been translated into five languages and have won prizes from the Overseas Press Club of America, the World Affairs Council, the Eugene V. Debs Foundation, and the Society of American Travel Writers. Three of his books -- includingKing Leopold's Ghost -- have been named Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review and Library Journal. King Leopold's Ghost was also awarded the 1998 California Book Awards gold medal for nonfiction.

Hochschild has also written for The New Yorker, Harper's magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones (which he co-founded), The Nation, and many other magazines and newspapers. A former commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," he teaches writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1997-98 he was a Fulbright Lecturer in India.

He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Arlie, the sociologist and author. They have two sons.

Author biography courtesy of Houghton Mifflin.

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    1. Hometown:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 5, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      A.B., Harvard College, 1963

Read an Excerpt

An early autumn bite is in the air as a gold-tinged late afternoon falls over the rolling countryside of northern France. Where the land dips between gentle rises, it is already in shadow. Dotting the fields are machine-packed rolls, high as a person’s head, of the year’s final hay crop. Massive tractors pull boxcar-sized cartloads of potatoes, or corn chopped up for cattle feed. Up a low hill, a grove of trees screens the evidence of another kind of harvest, reaped on this spot nearly a century ago. Each gravestone in the small cemetery has a name, rank, and serial number; 162 have crosses, and one has a Star of David. When known, a man’s age is engraved on the stone as well: 19, 22, 23, 26, 34, 21, 20. Ten of the graves simply say, “A Soldier of the Great War, Known unto God.” Almost all the dead are from Britain’s Devonshire Regiment, the date on their gravestones July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Most were casualties of a single German machine gun several hundred yards from this spot, and were buried here in a section of the front-line trench they had climbed out of that morning. Captain Duncan Martin, 30, a company commander and an artist in civilian life, had made a clay model of the battlefield across which the British planned to attack. He predicted to his fellow officers the exact place at which he and his men would come under fire from the nearby German machine gun as they emerged onto an exposed hillside. He, too, is buried here, one of some 21,000 British soldiers killed or fatally wounded on the day of greatest bloodshed in the history of their country’s military, before or since.
 On a stone plaque next to the graves are the words this regiment’s survivors carved on a wooden sign when they buried their dead:

The devonshires held this trench
The devonshires hold it still
 
 The comments in the cemetery’s visitors’ book are almost all from England: Bournemouth, London, Hampshire, Devon. “Paid our respects to 3 of our townsfolk.” “Sleep on, boys.” “Lest we forget.” “Thanks, lads.” “Gt. Uncle thanks, rest in peace.” Why does it bring a lump to the throat to see words like sleep, rest, sacrifice, when my reason for being here is the belief that this war was needless folly and madness? Only one visitor strikes a different note: “Never again.” On a few pages the ink of the names and remarks has been smeared by raindrops — or was it tears?
 The bodies of soldiers of the British Empire lie in 400 cemeteries in the Somme battlefield region alone, a rough crescent of territory less than 20 miles long, but graves are not the only mark the war has made on the land. Here and there, a patch of ground gouged by thousands of shell craters has been left alone; decades of erosion have softened the scarring, but what was once a flat field now looks like rugged, grassed-over sand dunes. On the fields that have been smoothed out again, like those surrounding the Devonshires’ cemetery, some of the tractors have armor plating beneath the driver’s seat, because harvesting machinery cannot distinguish between potatoes, sugar beets, and live shells. More than 700 million artillery and mortar rounds were fired on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918, of which an estimated 15 percent failed to explode. Every year these leftover shells kill people — 36 in 1991 alone, for instance, when France excavated the track bed for a new high-speed rail line. Dotted throughout the region are patches of uncleared forest or scrub surrounded by yellow danger signs in French and English warning hikers away. The French government employs teams of démineurs, roving bomb-disposal specialists, who respond to calls when villagers discover shells; they collect and destroy 900 tons of unexploded munitions each year. More than 630 French démineurs have died in the line of duty since 1946. Like those shells, the First World War itself has remained in our lives, below the surface, because we live in a world that was so much formed by it and by the industrialized total warfare it inaugurated.
 Even though I was born long after it ended, the war always seemed a presence in our family. My mother would tell me about the wild enthusiasm of crowds at military parades when — at last! — the United States joined the Allies. A beloved first cousin of hers marched off to the sound of those cheers, to be killed in the final weeks of fighting; she never forgot the shock and disillusionment. And no one in my father’s family thought it absurd that two of his relatives had fought on opposite sides of the First World War, one in the French army, one in the German. If your country called, you went.
 My father’s sister married a man who fought for Russia in that war, and we owed his presence in our lives to events triggered by it: the Russian Revolution and the bitter civil war that followed — after which, finding himself on the losing side, he came to America. We shared a summer household with this aunt and uncle, and friends of his who were also veterans of 1914–1918 were regular visitors. As a boy, I vividly remember standing next to one of them, all of us in bathing suits and about to go swimming, and then looking down and seeing the man’s foot: all his toes had been sheared off by a German machine-gun bullet somewhere on the Eastern Front.
 The war also lived on in the illustrated adventure tales that British cousins sent me for Christmas. Young Tim or Tom or Trevor, though a mere teenager whom the colonel had declared too young for combat, would bravely dodge flying shrapnel to carry that same wounded colonel to safety after the regiment, bagpipes playing, had gone “over the top” into no man’s land. In later episodes, he always managed to find some way — as a spy or an aviator or through sheer boldness — around the deadlock of trench warfare.
 As I grew older and learned more history, I found that this very deadlock had its own fascination. For more than three years the armies on the Western Front were virtually locked in place, burrowed into trenches with dugouts sometimes 40 feet below ground, periodically emerging for terrible battles that gained at best a few miles of muddy, shell-blasted wasteland. The destructiveness of those battles still seems beyond belief. In addition to the dead, on the first day of the Somme offensive another 36,000 British troops were wounded. The magnitude of slaughter in the war’s entire span was beyond anything in European experience: more than 35 percent of all German men who were between the ages of 19 and 22 when the fighting broke out, for example, were killed in the next four and a half years, and many of the remainder grievously wounded. For France, the toll was proportionately even higher: one half of all Frenchmen aged 20 to 32 at the war’s outbreak were dead when it was over. “The Great War of 1914–18 lies like a band of scorched earth dividing that time from ours,” wrote the historian Barbara Tuchman. British stonemasons in Belgium were still at work carving the names of their nation’s missing onto memorials when the Germans invaded for the next war, more than 20 years later. Cities and towns in the armies’ path were reduced to jagged rubble, forests and farms to charred ruins. “This is not war,” a wounded soldier among Britain’s Indian troops wrote home from Europe. “It is the ending of the world.”

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS
List of Maps ix
Introduction: Clash of Dreams xi
Part I Dramatis Personae
 1. Brother and Sister 3
 2. A Man of No Illusions 16
 3. A Clergyman’s Daughter 27
 4. Holy Warriors 40
 5. Boy Miner 54
 6. On the Eve 65
Part II 1914
 7. A Strange Light 79
 8. As Swimmers into Cleanness Leaping 98
 9. The God of Right Will Watch the Fight 114
Part III 1915
 10. This Isn’t War 135
 11. In the Thick of It 147
 12. Not This Tide 160
Part IV 1916
 13. We Regret Nothing 177
 14. God, God, Where’s the Rest of the Boys? 200
 15. Casting Away Arms 215
Part V 1917
 16. Between the Lion’s Jaws 241
 17. The World Is My Country 257
 18. Drowning on Land 275
 19. Please Don’t Die 289
Part VI 1918
 20. Backs to the Wall 309
 21. There Are More Dead Than Living Now 329
Part VII Exeunt Omnes
 22. The Devil’s Own Hand 347
 23. An Imaginary Cemetery 360
Source Notes 379
Bibliography 411
Acknowledgments 423
Index 427
About the Author 449

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Customer Reviews

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( 37 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Powerful History Lesson

    It was supposed to be the war to end all wars-the Great War. Millions gave the ultimate sacrifice, their very lives, and World War I is still to this day not entirely understood by historians. The violence and widespread carnage of those years simply cannot be understood by any rational means. It becomes necessary to look at the very real human elements, to delve into the hearts and minds of those that stood their ground in support of their own ideals and fought for that in which they so fervently believed, whether based in principles of peace or war, in order to comprehend the true nature of the period. There is a great deal of relevance here. The grand tension of this period is represented best by those who struggled most as either loyal proponents of military action or opponents of the first great global conflict. Adam Hochschild's latest work, To End All Wars, serves as an exploration not of the gruesome battles scenes and bloody victories of this war but of the soldiers and pacifists, the commanders and rebels who fought long and hard, sometimes to the point of their deaths, in order to maintain their own personal struggles in the hopes of prevailing. Both sides were pitted against impressive odds: families were torn apart by the disparate beliefs of their members, and citizens were arrested and imprisoned for their dissent. What reasons are there? What ideas and values were driving these people? To End All Wars is an intimate, captivating investigation into the people behind the action of World War I. Hochschild is a well-known and accomplished author who has contributed works to some of the world's most read publications. History is his specialty, and this is history at its finest. Journey beyond the textbook account to the very real struggle of those that fought in order to end all wars. To End All Wars is bound to be appreciated by non-fiction readers who delight in reading about the world of the past. Of course, those who have an obsession with the World War I era should consider this an absolute must-read. And fans of Hochschild's previous books already know to expect great things from this release.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2012

    Amazing book

    Gritty, horrifying in places and a difficult read. There have been many books that glorify war; this is not one. Nor is it simply a condemnation of war. This book makes the shocking aspects of war uncomfortably real. It's well written and researched. I'd recommend it and will read it again.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Boffo!!!! A mind bender.

    If you ever needed to understand the stupidity of war, and the men who make them, read this book. One comes away wondering if such men exist today, somehow knowing that they do, and wishing it were not true. If you think war is ever necessary this book will, at the very least, give you reason to pause before allowing young men to go to war.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    Recommended

    Interesting as an in-depth explanation of the anti-war movement in England during WWI.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 24, 2012

    This is an exasperating book, good on the personalities of those

    This is an exasperating book, good on the personalities of those whom Adam Hochschild picks to represent the two sides of the divide – the pro-war activists and the opponents of the First World War – but it is superficial, impressionistic and anecdotal, more gossip than history.

    Hochschild has found some good material. For example, he cites an army officer who wrote, “A good big war just now might do a lot of good in killing Socialist nonsense and would probably put a stop to all this labour unrest.”

    Then as now the media assumed the morality of the state’s wars. Hochschild calls the British government’s publicity campaign, ‘The greatest political propaganda barrage history had seen’. John Buchan, one of its key writers, wrote, “So far as Britain is concerned, the war could not have been fought for one month without its newspapers.” The British state used its well-practised tactics of censorship: the government did not ban, where it could discourage, and it did not discourage, where it was safe or politic to ignore.

    Of the government poster, ‘Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?’, Bob Smillie, a leading Scottish miner, said his reply would be, “I tried to stop the bloody thing, my child.”

    Hochschild cites Rudyard Kipling’s lines expressing a soldier’s thought -
    “If any question why we died,
    Tell them, because our fathers lied.”
    However, this is not enigmatic, as Hochschild calls it, but clear and true.

    But the government did not just put out lies. It created organisations to back the state: Sir Alfred Milner founded the pro-war British Workers’ League, precursor of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers and many others.

    So Hochschild does tell some good stories, but he writes far more about General Haig, Milner, Kipling and Buchan than he does about those who opposed the war: there are two index entries to General Sir John French, commander of the British army in Flanders, for every one to his anti-war sister Charlotte Despard, and two to Milner for every one to Bertrand Russell.

    More important, Hochschild never has a good word to say about those whose opposition to the war actually ended it. Milner had said in March 1918, “our real danger now is not the Boches but Bolshevism.” All the warring states turned to attack this new main enemy - and now Hochschild does so too.

    He slanders Lenin as writing only ‘acerbic articles and pamphlets attacking rivals on the left and predicting the imminent demise of capitalism’, ignoring his many articles opposing the war. Hochschild damns those present at the 1916 anti-war Kiental meeting, including Lenin, as ‘mostly sectarian ideologues’. This conference called for an immediate peace and called on all socialist deputies never to vote for war credits (unlike the Second International which had voted for war credits in 1914).

    Hochschild writes that Emily Hobhouse “was the sole person from any of the warring countries who actually journeyed to the other side in search of peace”, forgetting that he actually wrote about the Bolsheviks who travelled into German-occupied territory in December 1917 and negotiated an armistice.

    So, this is a divided book about a divided nation. Hochschild’s liberalism allows him to praise those who opposed the war as pacifists, but this same worldview stops him praising those who by making war on the war ended it.


    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    Another Rewriting of History

    While To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 is well written and follows historical facts, it is a perfect example of the way leftist idealists try to put their stamp on history by rewriting it. The book follows the life of a dozen or so British socialist, leftists, and communists from the 1890s thru the end of World War I. They decry the lost of freedoms in the wartime economy as well as the loss of life in the war. They draw their conclusion at the end by say peace at any cost is better than standing up for one’s national beliefs. They concluded that it would have been better if Great Britain had not entered the war and let Germany take over all of Europe than suffer the massive losses of the war, the Russian Revolution, and consequently World War II.

    5 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Picked this book up because I was interested in a book that coul

    Picked this book up because I was interested in a book that could describe the reasons  and outcomes of a war
    I knew very little about. This book is written mostly from the British prospective. It focuses on that 19th century
    colonial power whose leaders had lost touch with or were ignorant of 20th century "modern" warfare. The
    accounts of chauvinistic military leadership expecting to fight a war with horses, riders, and swords and the
    unimaginable number of casualties, which could have been avoided -- on all sides was, even a century later,
    simply shocking. The story includes the workers' struggle in those early days of the 20th century -- a story that is
    as powerful, as  historical, as important, and as timeless as the military history of the times and what we humans
    never seem to learn from history.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Outstanding

    This is simply an outstanding book on every level. I highly recommend it to anyone interetsed in exploring how ordinary people's lives intertwine to create history.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Highly recommend!

    Excellent story about WWI centered on true characters and events. So well-written it often made me angry to think this actually happened and yet only twenty years later we launched into WWII.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    Drags

    Although it is a well written book- it drags. I found it hard to remember whom each person was and what their role was in WWI whether it be pro or anti war.
    While I found the book interesting, I was just looking for a bit more information in regards to the actual war not necessarily just the opposition to it primarily by well to do citizens. If you are looking for a book to show you how WWI impacted the average citizens life- this isn't it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Sad Lesson to Learn

    I well written book but it is so sad to see how pigheaded our leadership can big. How can civilized men think of war as a sport?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    shocking to discover the ineptitude of the Allied generals

    I picked this up because I read Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost" and the author told the story of WWI in a similar, powerful storyline with multiple 3rd person viewpoints. Stories about trench warfare truly horrified me. Hochschild wrote about a big offensive in Belgium, and described how tens of thousands of soldiers drowned, being nowhere near the sea, because of severe rains and soldiers literally stuck in the mud in the trenches. Even though history has already been written, Hochschild wrote in a way that made me fervently hope the ending would be different for the soldiers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Great book

    Heartbreaking to read about the horrors of WWII through the stories of war resisters and conscientious objectors. Sad and fascinating.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    Interesting read

    If you enjoy history books

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    And to think that we lost an entire generation of men because th

    And to think that we lost an entire generation of men because the world was being held hostage by three morons: King George of England, Nicholas the Russian Tsar and Cousin Willie the Kaiser
    Nicholas the Tsar of Russia, and dear old Cousin Willie.  Deprived of oxygen at firth for a substantial time he was a wee bit "off" but yet assumed the Throne and became Kaiser William of Prussia.  Talk about a travesty.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2013

    End all wars

    Well researched but should have focused more on the anti war movement. Seems like the author could have written two good books but instead wrote an average one

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2011

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    Posted July 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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