The 6 Best Books on the First World War

for the intelligent person.

The First World War has long been overshadowed by Second World War. It is surprising how little is known by most people about an event that shaped our modern world so much. I have to hold my own hands up on this this. Up until a couple of years ago, I knew relatively little about it myself (being obsessed with Herr Hitler and the Second World War in my youth). But once I started reading about it I got hooked.

I was going to write a top 10 here, but on reflection I decided it would be better to focus on the 6 best books I have read on the topic (I've read some books which are too academic and hence not enjoyable to read). Only one of the books listed here is really 'Military History' (focusing mainly on the battles and military strategies). The other five of these six books are more on the 'General History' of the war (less focus on military strategy and more on the social, political and economic origins, impact and consequences of the war).

If you know nothing about the First World War, then probably the best book to start with is John Keegan's book 'The First World War'. If you already know something about it, then I would recommend that you read any of the other five.

Title Author Type
1. The Pity of War Niall Ferguson General History Amazon logo and link
2. The First World War John Keegan General History Amazon logo and link
3. The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War Peter Hart Military History Amazon logo and link
4. The World Crisis, 1911-1918 Winston Churchill General History Amazon logo and link
5. A History of the Great War Eric Brose General History Amazon logo and link
6. Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 Max Hastings General History Amazon logo and link