I found this book review in Albert Mohler's blog.
Norman Stone, World War One: A Short History (Basic Books).
Though World War II is a matter of almost constant fascination for modern Americans, the same cannot be said in the same sense for World War I. For most Americans that first world war appears so distant from our modern historical consciousness. At the beginning of that war, Europe was governed by crowned heads who ruled as if history would never sweep them away. In World War One, Norman Stone does what few historians would even attempt to do -- he tells the story of World War I in a brief 200-page account that puts the disaster of this global war into an understandable context.
Stone, an historian who formerly taught at Oxford University, now lives and teaches in Turkey -- the site of some of the most intense and disastrous fighting of the first world war. Without flinching, Stone tells the story of the hubris and insane optimism that brought Europe into this disaster and he recounts the blunders and grinding murderousness of this war. Most Americans want to know more about World War I and, most importantly, they want to understand what that war meant. World War One: A Short History is a great place to find those questions answered.
A fire eating diplomat in the Austro-Hungarian foreign ministry called the Archduke’s murder ‘a gift from Mars’ – a wonderful excuse to solve all problems. Austria would be great again, Russia would come to hell, even Turkey might be taken over. In six weeks, a Bismarckian victory. It was, the German emperor said, ‘Now or never’. War was to be provoked, and the murder of the Archduke provided a perfect occasion. The Austrians were told that they should use it to attack Serbia, Russia’s client, and the means chosen was an ultimatum, containing demands that could not be accepted without the loss of Serbian independence. As it happened, the Austrians were not at all enthusiastic for war with Russia – Serbia, yes, but Russia was too great. The worries translated into delays – the Hungarians to be placated, the harvest to be brought in, and so on. Discreet banging on the table came from Berlin, and on 23 July the ultimatum was sent off. On the 25th, it was accepted but with reservations, and the Austrians declared mobilization – still no declaration of war. There was more banging of the table in Berlin, and war was declared on the 28th.