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World War One: History in an Hour

Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Length: 1 hr and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

Non-member price: $3.11

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Publisher's Summary

History for busy people. Listen to a concise history of World War One in just one hour. World War One brought with it the world’s first experience of Total War, involving all of the world’s great powers, polarized between the Triple Entente, led by Britain, France and Russia, and the Central Powers, dominated by Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary. Around nine million men lost their lives in a conflict that introduced the horrors of trench warfare, machine guns, and toxic gas attacks.

World War One: History In an Hour gives you a clear overview of the road to war, the major turning points and battles, and the key leaders involved, as well as the lasting impact the Great War had on almost every country in the world. World War One: History In an Hour is essential listening for all history lovers.

©2012 Rupert Colley (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"If the past is a foreign country, History in an Hour is like a high-class tour operator, offering delightfully enjoyable short breaks in the rich and diverse continent of our shared past" (Dominic Sandbrook)
"The practice of History is ever-evolving, and the History In An Hour idea brings it back up to date for the digital age." (Andrew Roberts, Bookseller)
"This is genius." (MacWorld.com)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too much info

Short books such as this tend to be hit and miss. Particularly when there is too much information to include. Rather than providing a summery of WW1, the author attempts to cram everything into the hour.

The performance is fine but sometimes rushed.

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Exam Saver

Helped me study for a major exam. Great narration and described well.
The climatic ending also made me laugh. Well chosen quote to bridge to the next audiobooks.

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  • Sean
  • 06-09-2012

Concise review

This provides a good overview of the major events of WWI.

Obviously, one can not go into detail in an hour when covering such an important and well documented chapter of world history. The author does a good job of progressing from event to event without editorializing or engaging in "what if?" questions.

It is a nice refresher of the major players and events from the war to end all wars.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason
  • 11-09-2013

Good introduction or refresher

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It is an hour well spent brushing up on the basic timelines of WW1. There are a few interesting back stories of the main events and it covers it well. It would be a good introduction to the story of the Great War and is well told.
However it is not meant to be a thorough book - it brushes over most of the main points. I have a bookshelf of WW1 books and this skims the surface but it is worth a read especially if you don't know much about the war.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Archduke Franz Ferdinand???!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • TexasFella
  • 29-01-2019

Excellent summary; short, well written & read

I have both Kindle and Audible versions, and this review is for both. This book is - obviously - a summary, not a detailed history. It is only 100 pages to cover the four years of the war, from the Archduke's assassination to the aftermath, so of course it does not go into great detail for WWI buffs. But if you, like me, have some knowledge but want a quick overview to tie it all together, this does that perfectly. I learned many things that I didn't know or was confused about. Author Rupert Colley - who has a long series of these History in One Hour books - does a very concise job. He is English and so, yes, he has an English/Allies point of view, though there are interesting tidbits from the German and Russian view sprinkled in. There's little time for more. The Kindle version has a photo every 2-4 pages, so maybe 2-3 dozen. Most are portraits, but there are also some of things like planes, ships or women in armament factories. (You can easily enlarge tiny Kindle photos with your fingers on most devices.) The Audible reader, English actor Jonathan Keeble, has done many of these and other audios. He has a very clear, easy to listen to and understand voice, with a mild English accent. He does just the right amount of voice drama (he's good with irony) and accents without being distracting or attention getting. The Audible book is 82 minutes, so more than an hour. I have since bought others in the series.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Cute Z
  • 20-12-2018

Full of emotional claims, lack of facts

I cannot even finish the 1st chapter, the book is so poorly written. Full of emotional claims, and seriously lack of supporting details such as statistics.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Doctor Bob
  • 01-10-2018

Not bad

Of these I’ve listened to, this is the best. Doesn’t mean it’s particularly good, but listenable

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Horace
  • 05-05-2018

Maps needed onscreen while reading!

A great summary of an event that has shaped modern history. Extremely well read indeed. As with similar titles, onscreen maps would significantly increase enjoyment.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brad4d
  • 17-02-2018

Clear and Concise

I thought this a very clear and short version of the how and why of WW1. I am going on a pilgrimage this summer to various sites and this really helped me understand what went on and more importantly why.

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  • A S N
  • 07-12-2017

The best overview of world war 1

In the time taken by this audio book, it couldn’t have covered the subject better. It gave the causes of the conflict, how the war went in different theatres, how the allies finally won and how the ground was prepared for the second world war.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • earl r. cook
  • 06-07-2016

world war 1

This was an astounding expose of what actually took place in Europe. Short history, but right to the point.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris Abraham
  • 29-05-2016

A perfect WWI primer

It's Memorial Day weekend here in the USA and I wanted to refresh my understanding of the five years of war leading up to Armistice Day. Beautifully read and not at all controversial. Very well-produced and performed. And only an hour.

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  • C. Whitehair
  • 29-04-2018

An hour well spent

Excellent overview of key issues providing context to the conflict. We listened to this before visiting First World War sites in Belgium.
Recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dean
  • 05-05-2016

A worthwhile listen.

An amazing short look at a long and horrific, but still very interesting time in human history.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark Ritchie
  • 26-05-2019

History in an hour

I enjoyed this very much very quick and detailed regarding the events of World War One.

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  • Mr H.
  • 16-11-2018

Concise review of WWI

A good summary for those wanting an overview of WWI. Creates a foundation for further reading

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dropshort2000
  • 24-09-2018

A poor overview

An outdated View which perpetuates the view that the FWW was futile. Using emotive language to describe factual events. Poor.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Phil Sayers
  • 21-06-2018

Bite size history

Great concentrated history in a well read format, easy to understand without all the overly complex political machinations, should be taught in schools today to serve as a reminder of what happened.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • WarwickStudent
  • 16-03-2018

Does what it says on the tin.

I'm not a historian but had a fair knowledge of WW1. This gives a good overview but skips some of the potential controversies (Was the Lucitania civilian? Was the Mexico memo planted? etc.) that I had heard elsewhere. However, parts like the Paris taxis I had never heard of.

I do get a bit annoyed that the general recounting moves chronologically but in fact the specifics are done nationally or geographically. It can be strange to go from the story of Paris 1914-1917 to America 1915 (not accurate figures). Not sure how else it could be done though...

Overall for the cost and the quality of the narrating voice I would say this is worth a listen. If you find bits interesting and want more depth then pursue them in other books.

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  • Dark D
  • 19-05-2017

This is excellent!

Any additional comments?

I'm extremely fussy when it comes to audio books and I have returned many that I didnt like. There is no chance this will be getting returned. Well done!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Derfel C
  • 01-02-2017

Excellent

A really good synopsis of WW1 with varied historical facts and references. Worth listening to.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 15-01-2017

Brilliantly written, brilliantly executed!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I would. The subject is presented in such a way that you can organise the events in your mind and gives an overall understanding of a complex subject

What other book might you compare World War One: History in an Hour to, and why?

The Second World War in One Hour. There was a lot of background information that I didn't know of which was never incorporated into lessons at school.

Any additional comments?

Jonathan Keeble is very easy to listen to - he speaks slowly and distinctly in a melodious accent which helps to keep you attention. No irritating intonations! The author offers different viewpoints and doesn't gloss over the many mistakes that were made by all sides. He also gives interesting background to all the characters involved in decision making in the War