Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?

Version: Unabridged
Author: David Fromkin
Narrator: Alan Sklar
Genres: History, Military
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published In: May 2004
# of Units: 9 CDs
Length: 10 hours, 59 minutes
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The early summer of 1914 was the most glorious Europeans could remember. But, behind the scenes, the most destructive war the world had yet known was moving inexorably into being, a war that would continue to resonate into the twenty-first century.

The question of how it began has long vexed historians. Most have cited the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand; some concluded that it was nobody's fault. But David Fromkin, whose account is based on the latest scholarship, provides a different answer. He shows that hostilities were started deliberately.

In a gripping narrative that has eerie parallels to events in our own time, Fromkin shows that two wars were waged and that one served as pretext for the other. Shedding light on such current issues as preventive war and how to combat terrorism, he provides detailed descriptions of the negotiations and incisive portraits of the diplomats, generals, and rulers—the Kaiser of Germany, the czar of Russia, the prime minister of England, among other key players. And he reveals how and why diplomacy was destined to fail.

Europe's Last Summer is a striking recreation of a crucial moment in twentieth-century history.

Reviews (3)

Good, but tough in the car

Written by Bob Stewart from Berryville, VA on August 27th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 3/5

A very good history of the events leading up to the First World War. Because of the many characters who were involved, it was a tough "read" while driving...the many names, Austrian, German, Russian, etc., made it hard to keep track. Probably better to actually read than to listen to. That said, the book provided significant insight into the "War to end all wars" that has lasted in one way or another to this day.

Excellent Analysis

Written by Anonymous from Woodbine, MD on April 13th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This was a solid and accessible review and analysis of the events leading up to WWI. The first couple of chapters seem a little bit like a typical history lecture with a lot of names and dates, but just let that roll over your ears and as the book progresses, it will all start to come together. By about mid-disk 2, I was hooked! I feel like I learned more about the genesis of the Great War from Fromkin than I had in all my high school and college history classes put together. A fascinating book, and well worth the time.

Europe's Last Summer

Written by wlh2040 from Miami, FL on November 15th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This is an excellent book, and highly recommended for anybody interested in the 20th century. There is so much contained in this book on The Great War that parlays over so much of the 20th century, and affects us even still today.

Author Details

Author Details

Fromkin, David

Historian David Fromkin is a professor at Boston University and the author of several acclaimed books of nonfiction. He lives in New York City.