A gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century’s first great arms race, from Pulitzer Prize winner. Dreadnought is ostensibly about the relationship between Germany and Britain in the years before the First World War, with a focus on the naval arms race. Here, as with his Pulitzer Prize-winning Peter the Great (), Massie disdains the virtues of literary economy.

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Massie presented the facts with as much neutrality as hindsight allows, and that was one of the many appeals of this book. October External links: So that took a while, to be fair I picked it up immediately after I bought it, read pages and then put it down.

It has not been told so well before. Admittedly, there is some overlap between history and biography, because a good biography will include details of the historical setting of the person whose life a biographer is writing about, and vice versa.

Massie brings to vivid life, such historical figures as the single-minded Admiral von Tirpitz, the young, ambitious, Winston Churchill, the ruthless, sycophantic Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow, massje many others.

Dreadnought (book) – Wikipedia

Massie is not the kind of big huge historical book that plods through ten times one hundred pages and then somebut brilliantly sails the body of pre-WWI preludes to total war, using Anglo-Germanic naval rivalry as an entering wedge to understanding all of the arms dreaenought and diplomatic jockeying that led massiie that total war in Dreadnought is ostensibly about the relationship between Germany and Britain in the years before the First World War, with a focus on the naval arms race between them.

The Leitmotif of the book is the naval race.

It’s “The Guns of August” for the initiated and offers a more realistic interpretation than Tuchman. It reminds you that, despite what political scientists want you to believe, that the decisions of our world, big and small, are made by people laboring under the universal human condition.

Although I am not a historian, I felt that Mr. His love for the Ddeadnought Navy prompted him to build his own grand navy, not even dreadbought drive Britannia from the waves, but as a projection of his own glory and the glory of Germany.


As it is, it aims too high and comes up short. A fairly thorough political analysis of the Great War’s antecedent half century with particular attention to Germany, England, and the role of sea power. Massie intertwines the history of Germany and Britain on a political and military level, describing the lives and thoughts of leading politicians and military mostly admirals and of course the Royal heads ruling in Europe.


Or something like that. Massie went to work as a journalist for Newsweek from to and then took a position at the Saturday Evening Post. Massie begins, in part one, with Queen Victoria and the dynastic links between Germany and Britain, then traces the history of the German naval challenge to Britain’s supremacy.

Massie has written a richly textured and gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century’s first great arms race. Facts which to a great many seem to lurk in the great deeps as rusty hulks, Massie however does his part to salvage much of this history with a dreacnought of superb relevance.

Dreadnougjt little information about the German fleet is provided for example, while the problems with inadequate armour on the British battle-cruisers are mentioned, the far superior ability of German ships to withstand damage is not. View all 12 comments.

Dreadnought (Robert Massie) – book review

Deeply researched but readable and intriguing. Throughout the book he provides us with detailed portraits of all the major political characters from both Britain and Germany during the period covered. Learn more about Amazon Prime. The first occurred as the King’s train reached [the frontier], where a military band and a regiment of hussars were drawn up.

He “[s]moked fourteen cigars a day, drank beer in the afternooons, kept two large goblets – one for champagne, the other for port – at hand during meals, and tried to find sleep at night by drinking a bottle of champagne When [Bismarck] complained of an upset stomach, [his wife] calmed him with foie gras. World War I is what many historians call the start of the 20th Century because of epic changes that the war brought about, politically and militarily.


The result is an enormous 1, pp. Massie’s thesis initially struck me as a bit wide of the point given the relatively small role of the navies in what was overwhelmingly a land war, but throughout this lengthy book he discusses the important part naval development played in directing the course of the war.

Somewhat classical in its approach–great persons, great events, great battles–but I find it interesting only because I’ve been looking for a good European history read for some time, and I know very little about any of the subjects in this book.

Though the book does get bogged down from time to time in litanies of ship tonnage and gunnery, it makes up for it with an equally am I doubt there’s ever been a book written that will help you understand the causes of World War I better. But not for long if it was to the German Kaiser, who wanted to take part in the continental spoils and wanted to have a large navy as well, in order to take its place among the great colonial powers.

At the moment supreme in augusthe tries to back down from the game of bluff that is played specially by Austriabut is prevented from doing so by both his chancellor Von Bethman Hollweg and the General Staff under Von Moltke. Also by Robert K. Check out the top books of the year on our page Best Books of Even more impressive are the scores of secondary characters that light up this rich account.

Other parts are relevant but dry and uninteresting. I’m enjoying learning about the origins of the German Empire–I’m sure I learned about this guy in high school, but what an crazy dude Otto von Bismarck was.