A World Undone - G. J. Meyer

A World Undone

By G. J. Meyer

  • Release Date: 2006-05-30
  • Genre: History
Score: 4.5
From 158 Ratings


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Drawing on exhaustive research, this intimate account details how World War I reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed twenty million people, and cracked the foundations of our modern world

“Thundering, magnificent . . . [A World Undone] is a book of true greatness that prompts moments of sheer joy and pleasure. . . . It will earn generations of admirers.”—The Washington Times

On a summer day in 1914, a nineteen-year-old Serbian nationalist gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. While the world slumbered, monumental forces were shaken. In less than a month, a combination of ambition, deceit, fear, jealousy, missed opportunities, and miscalculation sent Austro-Hungarian troops marching into Serbia, German troops streaming toward Paris, and a vast Russian army into war, with England as its ally. As crowds cheered their armies on, no one could guess what lay ahead in the First World War: four long years of slaughter, physical and moral exhaustion, and the near collapse of a civilization that until 1914 had dominated the globe.

Praise for A World Undone

“Meyer’s sketches of the British Cabinet, the Russian Empire, the aging Austro-Hungarian Empire . . . are lifelike and plausible. His account of the tragic folly of Gallipoli is masterful. . . . [A World Undone] has an instructive value that can scarcely be measured”Los Angeles Times

“An original and very readable account of one of the most significant and often misunderstood events of the last century.”—Steve Gillon, resident historian, The History Channel


  • Best book I read in a while

    By alivenau
    If you want a minute to minute account of ww1, all the actorst in that amazing stupid war go read this book.
  • Impeccable

    By CamJax
    Shows that History is a far a better story than anything you could make up.
  • A World Undone

    By tejaandmike
    Superb. The most readable WWI account I have ever read. The author brings to life the grizzly realities of the first major war with modern weaponry. Horrific yet mesmerizing. The actors in this tragic drama were some of the bravest men and women the world has seen, both from the central powers as well as the western allies. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and cannot wait to read more from this author.
  • Comprehensive, Enlightening, and Entertaining

    By LT435
    Meyer has outdone himself with this marvelous comprehensive single volume work on the Great War. He delves into the historical events which led each of the major powers to war. It is more than just a historical account of the Great War, it is an autopsy report of the death of four major empires: Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungry, and Ottoman. For the long term effects of the war were devastating to the "old empires." Enjoy this work, it belongs in the library of every serious and casual fan of history in general and more specifically, Military History.
  • Readable, balanced, thorough, informative

    By William Porter
    Meyer's one volume history of The Great War is nothing short of superb. It's long enough to be thorough but not so long as to overwhelm a general reader like me. The writing is clear and very readable, candid in its assignment of praise and blame and yet balanced and fair. I especially appreciated the excuses on various subjects that Meyer adds to each chapter. The maps don't come through as well as I would like on my iPad but there are lots of maps on the Web. The photos are an unnecessary but agreeable bonus. I had never read a book on WWI before reading Meyer's A World Undone and I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed at first. But this wasn't Meyer's fault at all. Yes, there are lots of names and personalities but Meyer does an amazing job of handling them clearly. The real problem was that the causes of the war truly are very complicated and confusing. I read Meyer up to the end of 1914, and I was hooked, but I knew it wasn't all sinking in as well as I wanted. So I stopped and read Michael Howard's excellent First World War: A Very Short Introduction. That helped me get a rough overview. But it's a sign of how good Meyer's book is that, after getting my bearings with Howard, I was eager to return to Meyer, and was then able to complete his book with understanding and great enjoyment. As a one volume account of WWI, Meyer's book is remarkably solid. I enjoyed it greatly.