It starts with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo and ends with a survey of the social unrest facing every government that had been engaged in World War I. Mr. Taylor's account of the fighting includes not only the arnage of the battlefields, but the power plays of the military and their political opposite numbers over the conduct of the war, as well as the international jockeying of the peacemakers. The author, a noted controversialist, brings a critical/analytical approach not common to short histories. He ticks off the various generals and politicians for overweening ambition and ineptitude. It is a book of many contrasts: blameless generals and the subordinates they blamed; new equipment employed in outmoded strategies; allied soldiers fighting mud more often than men. The text is enhanced at every point by large battle maps. The many photographs are in black and white, some never before published.