Author(s): Max Hastings
A magisterial chronicle of the calamity that crippled Europe in 1914. 1914: a year of unparalleled change. The year that diplomacy failed, Imperial Europe was thrown into its first modernised warfare and white-gloved soldiers rode in their masses across pastoral landscapes into the blaze of machine-guns. What followed were the costliest days of the entire War. But how had it happened? In Catastrophe: 1914 Max Hastings, best-selling author of the acclaimed All Hell Let Loose, answers at last how World War I could ever have begun. Ranging across Europe, from Paris to St. Petersberg, from Kings to corporals, Catastrophe 1914 traces how tensions across the continent kindled into a blaze of battles; not the stalemates of later trench-warfare but battles of movement and dash where Napoleonic tactics met with weapons from a newly industrialised age. A searing analysis of the power-brokering, vanity and bluff in the diplomatic maelstrom reveals who was responsible for the birth of this catastrophic world in arms. Mingling the experiences of humbler folk with the statesmen on whom their lives depended, Hastings asks: whose actions were justified? From the out-break of war through to its terrible making, and the bloody gambles in Sarajevo and Mons, Le Cateau, Marne and Tannenberg, this is the international story of World War I in its most severe and influential period. Published to coincide with its 100th Anniversary, Catastrophe: 1914 explains how and why this war, which shattered and changed the Western world for ever, was fought.
Praise for All Hell Let Loose: 'Magnificent ... hypnotically readable' Sunday Telegraph 'A work of staggering scope and erudition, narrated with supreme fluency and insight, it is unquestionably the best single-volume history of the war ever written ... [Hastings] writes with a wonderfully clear, unsentimental eye and has a terrific grasp of the grand sweep and military strategy. But what makes his book a compelling read are the human stories ... at the end of this gruesome, chilling but quite magnificent book, you never doubt that the war was worth fighting' Sunday Times 'Majestic ... Hastings shapes all the stories, almost miraculously, into a single coherent narrative' Daily Telegraph 'No other general history of the war amalgamates so successfully the gut-wrenching personal details and the essential strategic arguments. Melding the worm's eye view and the big picture is a difficult trick to pull off - but Hastings has triumphed' The Times 'A fast-moving, highly readable survey of the entire war ... This is military history at its most gripping. A veritable tour de force' Evening Standard
Max Hastings studied at Charterhouse and Oxford and became a foreign correspondent, reporting from more than sixty countries and eleven wars for BBC TV and the London Evening Standard. He has won many awards for his journalism. Among his best-selling books 'Bomber Command' won the Somerset Maugham Prize, and both 'Overlord' and 'Battle for the Falklands' won the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Prize. After ten years as editor and then editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph, he became editor of the Evening Standard in 1996. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he was knighted in 2002. He now lives in Berkshire.