top of page

Suggested Reading WW1

Episode 1 – 100 Years On

The indispensable reference work here is Heather Jones' eve-of-the-centenary article in The Historical Journal, 56, 3 (2013), pp.857-878, in which she reviews the recent historiography of the First World War. Almost all the works mentioned in Episode 1 are to be found in this article. The key authors/publications (in English) are the following:

  • Alan Clark, The Donkeys (London, 1961)

  • John Keegan, The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme (London, 1976)

  • Martin Middlebrook, The First Day on the Somme: 1 July 1916 (London, 1971)

  • Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford, 1975)

  • Fritz Fischer, Germany’s Aims in the First World War (Norton & Co., 1967 – originally published in German in 1961)

  • Annika Mombauer, Helmuth von Moltke and the Origins of the First World War (Cambridge, 2001)

  • Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (London , 2012)

  • Dominic Lieven, The End to Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I and Revolution (Viking, 2015)

  • William Mulligan, The Origins of the First World War (Cambridge, 2010)

  • Ute Frevert, A Nation in Barracks: Modern Germany, Military Conscription and Civil Society (New York, 2004)

  • Isabel V. Hull, Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany (Cornell University Press, 2006)

  • Gary Sheffield, Forgotten Victory: The First World War – Myths and Realities (London, 2001)

  • Gary Sheffield, The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army (London, 2011)

  • Jonathan Boff, Winning and Losing on the Western Front: The British Third Army and the Defeat of Germany in 1918 (Cambridge, 2012)

  • David Stevenson, With Our Backs To The Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 (London, 2011)

  • Alexander Watson, Enduring the Great War: Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914-1918 (Cambridge & New York, NY, 2008)

  • Alexander Watson, Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918 (London 2014)

  • Mary E. Cox, Hunger in War and Peace: Women and Children in Germany, 1914-1924 (Oxford, 2019)

  • Stephane Audoin-Rouzeau & Annette Becker, 14-18: Understanding the Great War (New York, NY, 2002)


Many of the above publications are useful for the series as a whole, but below is a brief list for suggested further exploration of the more specific topics dealt with in Episodes 2-10 (speaker in each episode marked in red):

Episode 2 – The Western Front

  • Apart from Gary Sheffield’s two indispensable works in the list above, see also Gary Sheffield & Dan Todman, eds., Command and Control on the Western Front: The British Army’s Experience 1914-1918 (Spellmount, 2004)

  • Robin Prior & Trevor Wilson, Command on the Western Front (Oxford, 1992)

  • William Philpott, Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century (London 2009)


Episode 3 – Through German Eyes

  • Apart from Jonathan Boffs Winning and Losing on the Western Front (see above, under Episode 1), see also his Haig’s Enemy: Crown Prince Rupprecht and Germany’s War on the Western Front (Oxford, 2018)

  • David T. Zabecki, The German 1918 Offensives: A Case Study in the Operational Level of War (London, 2006)

  • Alexander Watson, Enduring the Great War (see above, under Episode 1)

  • Isabel V. Hull, Absolute Destruction (see above, under Episode 1)

  • John Horne & Daniel Kramer, German Atrocities in 1914: A History of Denial (New Haven, 2001)


Episode 4: Crossing The Line

  • Diana Preston, A Higher Form of Killing: Six Weeks in World War I That Forever Changed The Nature of Warfare (London, 2015)

  • Isabel V. Hull, A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making of International Law during the Great War (Cornell University Press, 2014)

  • Daniel Charles, Between Genius and Genocide: The Tragedy of Fritz Haber, Father of Chemical Warfare (London, 2006)

  • John Horne & Daniel Kramer, German Atrocities in 1914 (see above, under Episode 3)


Episode 5 – Shell Shock

  • Taylor Downing, Breakdown: The Crisis of Shell Shock on the Somme, 1916 (London, 2016)

  • Peter Leese, Shell Shock: Traumatic Neuroses and the British Soldiers of the First World War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002)

  • Fiona Reid, Broken Men: Shell Shock, Treatment and Recovery in Britain 1914-1930 (London, 2010)

  • Alexander Watson, Enduring the Great War (see above, under Episode 1)


Episode 6 – The Indian Experience

  • George Morton Jack, The Indian Empire at War: From Jihad to Victory – The Untold Story of the Indian Army in the First World War (London, 2018)

  • Santanu Das, India, Empire and First World War Culture: Writings, Images and Songs (Cambridge, 2018)

  • David Omissi, ed., Indian Voices of the Great War: Soldiers’ Letters, 1914-1918 (Palgrave Macmillan, 1999)


Episode 7 – Year of Victory

  • Peter Hart, The Last Battle: Endgame on the Western Front, 1918  (Profile Books, 2018)

  • David Stevenson, With Our Backs To The Wall (see above, under Episode 1)

  • Derek Clayton, Decisive Victory: The Battle of the Sambre, 4 November 1918 (Wolverhampton Military Studies, 2018)

  • Tim Travers, How The War Was Won (London, 1992)

  • J. H. Hallas, Doughboy War: The American Expeditionary Force in WWI (Stackpole Books, 2009)

  • Jonathan Boff: Winning and Losing on the Western Front (see above, under Episode 1)


Episode 8 – War Without End

  • Robert Gerwarth, The Vanquished: How the First World War Failed to End, 1917-23 (London, 2016)

  • Margaret MacMillan, The War That  Ended Peace (London, 2013)

  • Alexander V. Prusin, The Lands Between: Conflict in the Eastern European Borderlands, 1870-1992 (Oxford, 2010)

  • Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire (London, 2005)

  • Anthony Read, The World on Fire: 1919 and the Battle with Bolshevism (London, 2008)

  • Jonathan Smele, The ‘Russian’ Civil Wars 1916-26: Ten Years That Shook The World (Oxford, 2015)


Episode 9 – Attrition

  • William Philpott, Attrition: Fighting The First World War (London 2014)

  • Hew Strachan, The First World War (London, 2014 – first published in 2003)

  • David Stevenson, 1914-18: The History of the First World War (London, 2004)

  • Lawrence Sondhaus, World War One: The Global Revolution (Cambridge, 2011)


Episode 10 - Looking Back

  • Mark Connelly & Stefan Goebel, Great Battles: Ypres (Oxford, 2019)

  • David Reynolds, The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century (London, 2013)

  • Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge, 1995)

  • Dan Todman, The Great War: Myth and Memory (London, 2005)

  • Catherine Switzer, Ulster, Ireland and the Somme (Dublin, 2013)

  • David Crane, Empires of the Dead: How One Man’s Vision Led To The Creation of WWI’s War Graves (London, 2013)


The historiography of the First World War is vast, so this is not meant to be a definitive list but rather the start of a journey for the curious, the dabbler and the enthusiast alike. As with all good journeys, these works will inevitably lead you to others.


bottom of page