The Lost History of 1914

The Lost History of 1914
Jack Beatty

What subject has provided more material for works of popular history: the fall of the Roman Empire or the outbreak of the First World War? I wouldn’t hazard a guess, but if you were looking for yet another discussion of the latter, Jack Beatty (whose Age of Betrayal I thought excellent) takes another kick at the can in this look at some of the less prominent (but by no means “lost”) events of 1914. After chapters dedicated to each of the major powers and musings of what might have been “but for . . . “, the book loses its chronological identity and drifts into a sketchy and unfocused overview of the conflict. The ground Beatty is going over here is simply too worked up already, almost like one of those Western Front battlefields blasted into muck, to make a book like this, which seems to include no original research, necessary or worthwhile even for the general reader.