Cataclysm by David Stevenson
The First World War as Political Tragedy

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



David Stevenson’s widely acclaimed history of World War I changes forever our understanding of that pivotal conflict. Countering the commonplace assumption that politicians lost control of events, and that the war, once it began, quickly became an unstoppable machine, Stevenson contends that politicians deliberately took risks that led to war in July 1914. Far from being overwhelmed by the unprecedented scale and brutality of the bloodshed, political leaders on both sides remained very much in control of events throughout. According to Stevenson, the disturbing reality is that the course of the war was the result of conscious choices—including the continued acceptance of astronomical casualties. In fluid prose, Stevenson has written a definitive history of the man-made catastrophe that left lasting scars on the twentieth century. Cataclysm is a truly international history, incorporating new research on previously undisclosed records from governments in Europe and across the world. From the complex network of secret treaties and alliances that eventually drew all of Europe into the war, through the bloodbaths of Gallipoli and the Somme, to the arrival of American forces, and the massive political, economic, and cultural shifts the conflict left in its wake, Cataclysm is a major revision of World War I history.

About David Stevenson

See more books from this Author
David K. Stevenson is Harold K. Faber Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Ob-Gyn, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Vice Dean, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA; and Director, Charles B. and Ann L. Johnson Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Services, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. M. Jeffrey Maisels is Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine; Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine; and Physician-in-Chief, Beaumont Children's Hospital, Royal Oak, MI. Jon F. Watchko is Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology and Developmental Biology, and Professor of Ob-Gyn, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Senior Scientist, Magee-Women's Research Institute, Pittsburgh, PA.
Published May 11, 2005 by Basic Books. 624 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Cataclysm

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Stevenson's close analysis of the political, economic and cultural dimensions of the conflict unravels the reasons why Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Russia, France and even Britain saw much to gain from a war that each hoped to win in short order, with the help of allies.

| Read Full Review of Cataclysm: The First World Wa...

London Review of Books

As Hew Strachan rightly says in The First World War, ‘the fact that other ideas and ideologies now seem foreign to us does not deny their charge for those who went to war in 1914.

Dec 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Cataclysm: The First World Wa...

Project MUSE

In his analysis, for instance, of 1915-16 he outlines the widening of the war as Italy, Bulgaria, and Rumania joined, discusses the emerging intransigence about war aims, explains why the land war stalled, and recounts how the governments sought to pay for the tragedy.

| Read Full Review of Cataclysm: The First World Wa...

Reader Rating for Cataclysm

An aggregated and normalized score based on 20 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review