A gripping chronicle of the personal and national rivalries that led to the twentieth century’s first great arms race, from Pulitzer Prize winner. Dreadnought is ostensibly about the relationship between Germany and Britain in the years before the First World War, with a focus on the naval arms race. Here, as with his Pulitzer Prize-winning Peter the Great (), Massie disdains the virtues of literary economy.

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Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War

It maintained This is an outstanding work of narrative history, featuring a detailed account of the gradually deteriorating relationship between Britain and Germany massif the midth century up to the outbreak of WWI. Here, the Kaiser’s unruly horse ruins the majesty of his entry dreadnougnt Tangier; six years later a solitary, frustrated German merchant waves the gunboat “Panther” to shore in order to justify an armed intervention in Morocco.

This book is wonderful; meticulously researched, mind boggling in its scope and clearly the work of a master biographer.

Jan 22, Mark Russell rated it it was amazing Shelves: Oct 09, Andrea rated it really liked it Shelves: However, there is plenty of good reading, particularly Section 3, which deals with the Naval transformation from sail to steam and from wood to iron and steel, and the evolution of the dreadnoughts. Although I am not a historian, I felt that Mr.

Buy the selected items together This item: In “Castles of Steel” Massie tells the story of WWI at sea and I hope Jacky Fisher will be in that drearnought as well, as that bulldog of a man has captivated me in his persistence to build the RN the best fleet in dreadnohght world, all the while dancing with admirals and queens like a young boy!

We’re featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Massie [is] a master of historical portraiture and anecdotage.

I What a history book! Not because I wasn’t enjoying it but because I was daunted by the size and the subject matter. Open Preview See a Problem? A sweeping panorama by Robert Massie of England and Germany in the decades before the Great War, centered on the naval arms race that would be a major cause of the conflict HMS Dreadnought being the technical centerpiece of the day’s naval technology.

He throws some tonnage out, and the number of guns, but he dreadnoughy explains why this steel behemoth became so important – the nuclear weapons of the s. The book manages to compile its dense material in such a way that you can not but help to feel that you are reading a fictional narrative as the writing is so admirably done.


I’m enjoying learning about the origins creadnought the German Empire–I’m sure I learned about this guy in high school, but what an crazy dude Otto von Bismarck was. This knowledge prepared them for four long years at sea during the Great War.

Jul 24, Bob H rated it it was amazing Shelves: Britain,Germany and the Coming of the Great War.

Dreadnought by Robert K. Massie | : Books

Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. When the royal train pulled into the station, the King was unready; the train had crossed into a different time zone and his value, having failed to adjust his watch, had not laid out His Majesty’s uniform. Showing of reviews.

Massie shows the human side of people that participated in those events. Still, I don’t regreat reading this book, because Masssie learned a good bit of useful information about the pre-World War I era, including well-written descriptions of such men and women as Otto von Bismarck, Queen Victoria, Admiral Jackie Fisher, and future Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstanding and tensions, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tragedy in this powerful narrative. So I’ve stopped at page of book is pages of biliography because I have a huge library of other books to focus my love of reading back on. I feel like a man who has wasted his life. The Leitmotif of the book is the naval race.

He’s a great narrative writer; no other historian can tell an emotionally vested story like he can, save the late Shelby Foote.

Thus, as innocently as Wilhelm and his government presented their naval increases, Massoe would always be forced to match with the grim knowledge that Germany, a country with whom they had no historic antagonisms, was their primary enemy at sea. So that took a while, to be fair I picked it up immediately after I bought it, read pages and then put it down. Well, I’ve thrown in the towel.

Robert K. Massie

See all reviews. Funnily, Wilhelm II in this book is shown more as a show-off, a spoiled boy who acts irresponsible and hot amssie than as a man who consciously is steering his country towards war.


Deeply researched but readable and intriguing. Although supposedly focussing on the naval arms race dreadnouggt Germany and Britain hence the title “Dreadnought”it is more about political and diplomatic history, describing mxssie way the carefully balanced system of European treaties and safeguards set up by Bismarck, was broken down both by Kaiser Wilhelm II and his chancellors.

Many of these states actually exchanged ambassadors with one another. I devour with pleasure each book he has written. October External links: Also, covered is England’s Splendid Isolation and it’s fall, and why England had to align against Germany.

Massie [is] a master of historical portraiture and anecdotage. In the 19th century Britain invested almost all its military strength in the Royal Navy. The author is perhaps best known for his biographies of the Romanov monarchs, and biography is clearly his preferred field. Political shenanigans, personalities, biography, nationalism, jingoism and, of course the mightiest battleship of them all.

Before that we are treated with a history of Germany and Britain from the Napoleonic wars but with an emphasis to the period from Wilhelm II oldest grandson of Victoria ascended the throne of Imperial Germany and his relationships with his grandmother and more generally British family; also the British Imperial history of the late ‘s and early ‘s is treated and the confrontation at Constantinople between the Russian army camped near the city and the British fleet in the Golden Horn, the Fashoda incident, the Boer war.

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Dreadnought by Robert K. Massie

Their story, and the story of the era, filled with misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and events leading to unintended conclusions, unfolds like a Greek tratedy in his powerful narrative. View all 4 comments. The book is a collection of small biographies, centering on the English and German royalty, with the prime ministers, chancelors and ministers as well.

In fact, I think a shorter book would have had a stronger impact, because the sheer, massive amount of details blunts the reader’s ability to appreciate just how much tension was created by the naval arms race between England and Germany.

True to his eloquent, clear and comprehensive style, Mr. Lists with This Book.