August 1, 2014 marks the hundred year anniversary of the out break of World War I. The world wide tragedy that took the lives of millions, wounded and crippled millions more, and forever reshaped society has fascinated and horrified authors for ages. Here is a World War I reading list that attempts to give you a sampling of new and (sometimes) classical non-fiction on the war.
Where it Begins
Not surprisingly, this being the beginning of the hundred year anniversary of a war that lasted four years, a lot of new books have come out recently reexamining the origins and opening days of the war. We also included the classic of this type of World War I non-fiction.
1913: The Year Before the Storm by Florian Illies
1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War by Charles Emmerson
July 1914: Countdown to War by Sean McMeekin
The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan.
Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings.
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark.
The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman
The Western Front
The Western Front is the part of the war most people are familiar with. Static trench complexes running from the English Channel to the Alps, mass charges into machine guns, etc etc. Not surprising there is quiet a bit in this area too. Here is just a sampling of it.
The Western Front by Richard Holmes
Hundred Days: The Campaign that Ended World War I by Nick Lloyd
With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 by David Stevenson.
Attrition: The Great War on the Western Front, 1916 by Robin Neillands.
The Eastern Front
This is a lesser known but extremely important part of the war since it directly lead to the Russian Revolution and Russia’s withdrawal from the war.
The Eastern Front, 1914-1917 by Norman Stone.
The Middle East and Other Fronts
Everyone has heard of Lawrence of Arabia and here are a few of the newer biographies on him as well as views of the war in some it’s lesser known fronts.
Lawrence of Arabia: Mirage of a Desert War by Adrian Greaves
Hell in the Holy Land: World War I in the Middle East by David R. Woodward
Gallipoli by Peter Hart .
World War I: The African Front by Edward Paice
The White War: Life and Death on the Italian front, 1915-1919 by Mark Thompson
America in the War
The major European powers expended a lot of energy either trying to bring America in on their side or keeping them out. Many of the most recent books published on America in the war have focused on that process.
Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne by Douglas V. Mastriano
Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America’s Entry into World War I by Justus D. Doenecke
The War in the Air and on the Sea
Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea by Robert K. Massie
The Great War at Sea, 1914-1918 by Richard Hough.
The First Air War, 1914-1918 by Lee Kennett.
The Illustrated Red Baron: The Life and Times of Manfred von Richthofen by Peter Kilduff.
Every Day Life in the Trenches and at Home
Daily life both in the trenches and at home is a fascinating part of the war that many today have a hard time comprehending.
Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I by John Ellis
Daily Life During World War I by Neil M. Heyman
Home Front, 1914-1918: How Britain Survived the Great War by Ian F.W. Beckett.
Civilians in a World at War, 1914-1918 by Tammy M. Proctor