Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
The War That Ended Peace
Cover of The War That Ended Peace
The War That Ended Peace
The Road to 1914
Borrow Borrow

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times Book Review

  • The Economist
  • The Christian Science Monitor
  • Bloomberg Businessweek
  • The Globe and Mail

    From the bestselling and award-winning author of Paris 1919 comes a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, a fascinating portrait of Europe from 1900 up to the outbreak of World War I.

    The century since the end of the Napoleonic wars had been the most peaceful era Europe had known since the fall of the Roman Empire. In the first years of the twentieth century, Europe believed it was marching to a golden, happy, and prosperous future. But instead, complex personalities and rivalries, colonialism and ethnic nationalisms, and shifting alliances helped to bring about the failure of the long peace and the outbreak of a war that transformed Europe and the world.

    The War That Ended Peace brings vividly to life the military leaders, politicians, diplomats, bankers, and the extended, interrelated family of crowned heads across Europe who failed to stop the descent into war: in Germany, the mercurial Kaiser Wilhelm II and the chief of the German general staff, Von Moltke the Younger; in Austria-Hungary, Emperor Franz Joseph, a man who tried, through sheer hard work, to stave off the coming chaos in his empire; in Russia, Tsar Nicholas II and his wife; in Britain, King Edward VII, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, and British admiral Jacky Fisher, the fierce advocate of naval reform who entered into the arms race with Germany that pushed the continent toward confrontation on land and sea.

    There are the would-be peacemakers as well, among them prophets of the horrors of future wars whose warnings went unheeded: Alfred Nobel, who donated his fortune to the cause of international understanding, and Bertha von Suttner, a writer and activist who was the first woman awarded Nobel's new Peace Prize. Here too we meet the urbane and cosmopolitan Count Harry Kessler, who noticed many of the early signs that something was stirring in Europe; the young Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty and a rising figure in British politics; Madame Caillaux, who shot a man who might have been a force for peace; and more. With indelible portraits, MacMillan shows how the fateful decisions of a few powerful people changed the course of history.

    Taut, suspenseful, and impossible to put down, The War That Ended Peace is also a wise cautionary reminder of how wars happen in spite of the near-universal desire to keep the peace. Destined to become a classic in the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, The War That Ended Peace enriches our understanding of one of the defining periods and events of the twentieth century.

    Praise for The War That Ended Peace

    "Magnificent . . . The War That Ended Peace will certainly rank among the best books of the centennial crop."The Economist

    "Superb."The New York Times Book Review

    "Masterly . . . marvelous . . . Those looking to understand why World War I happened will have a hard time finding a better place to start."The Christian Science Monitor

    "The debate over the war's origins has raged for years. Ms. MacMillan's explanation goes straight to the heart of political fallibility. . . . Elegantly written, with wonderful character sketches of the key players, this is a book to be treasured."—The Wall Street Journal
    "A magisterial 600-page panorama."—Christopher Clark, London Review of...
  • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
    The New York Times Book Review

  • The Economist
  • The Christian Science Monitor
  • Bloomberg Businessweek
  • The Globe and Mail

    From the bestselling and award-winning author of Paris 1919 comes a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, a fascinating portrait of Europe from 1900 up to the outbreak of World War I.

    The century since the end of the Napoleonic wars had been the most peaceful era Europe had known since the fall of the Roman Empire. In the first years of the twentieth century, Europe believed it was marching to a golden, happy, and prosperous future. But instead, complex personalities and rivalries, colonialism and ethnic nationalisms, and shifting alliances helped to bring about the failure of the long peace and the outbreak of a war that transformed Europe and the world.

    The War That Ended Peace brings vividly to life the military leaders, politicians, diplomats, bankers, and the extended, interrelated family of crowned heads across Europe who failed to stop the descent into war: in Germany, the mercurial Kaiser Wilhelm II and the chief of the German general staff, Von Moltke the Younger; in Austria-Hungary, Emperor Franz Joseph, a man who tried, through sheer hard work, to stave off the coming chaos in his empire; in Russia, Tsar Nicholas II and his wife; in Britain, King Edward VII, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, and British admiral Jacky Fisher, the fierce advocate of naval reform who entered into the arms race with Germany that pushed the continent toward confrontation on land and sea.

    There are the would-be peacemakers as well, among them prophets of the horrors of future wars whose warnings went unheeded: Alfred Nobel, who donated his fortune to the cause of international understanding, and Bertha von Suttner, a writer and activist who was the first woman awarded Nobel's new Peace Prize. Here too we meet the urbane and cosmopolitan Count Harry Kessler, who noticed many of the early signs that something was stirring in Europe; the young Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty and a rising figure in British politics; Madame Caillaux, who shot a man who might have been a force for peace; and more. With indelible portraits, MacMillan shows how the fateful decisions of a few powerful people changed the course of history.

    Taut, suspenseful, and impossible to put down, The War That Ended Peace is also a wise cautionary reminder of how wars happen in spite of the near-universal desire to keep the peace. Destined to become a classic in the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, The War That Ended Peace enriches our understanding of one of the defining periods and events of the twentieth century.

    Praise for The War That Ended Peace

    "Magnificent . . . The War That Ended Peace will certainly rank among the best books of the centennial crop."The Economist

    "Superb."The New York Times Book Review

    "Masterly . . . marvelous . . . Those looking to understand why World War I happened will have a hard time finding a better place to start."The Christian Science Monitor

    "The debate over the war's origins has raged for years. Ms. MacMillan's explanation goes straight to the heart of political fallibility. . . . Elegantly written, with wonderful character sketches of the key players, this is a book to be treasured."—The Wall Street Journal
    "A magisterial 600-page panorama."—Christopher Clark, London Review of...
  • Available formats-
    • OverDrive Listen
    • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
    Languages:-
    Copies-
    • Available:
      1
    • Library copies:
      1
    Levels-
    • ATOS:
    • Lexile:
    • Interest Level:
    • Text Difficulty:

    Recommended for you

    Excerpts-
    • From the book

      Chapter 1

      Europe in 1900

      On April 14, 1900, Emile Loubet, the President of France, talked approvingly about justice and human kindness as he opened the Paris Universal Exposition. There was little kindness to be found in the press comments at the time. The exhibitions were not ready; the site was a dusty mess of building works; and almost everyone hated the giant statue over the entrance of a woman modeled on the actress Sarah Bernhardt and dressed in a fashionable evening dress. Yet the Exposition went on to be a triumph, with over 50 million visitors.

      In style and content the Exposition partly celebrated the glories of the past and each nation displayed its national treasures--whether paintings, sculptures, rare books or scrolls--and its national activities. So where the Canadian pavilion had piles of furs, the Finnish showed lots of wood, and the Portuguese decorated their pavilion with ornamental fish. Many of the European pavilions mimicked great Gothic or Renaissance buildings, although little Switzerland built a chalet. The Chinese copied a part of the Forbidden City in Beijing and Siam (today Thailand) put up a pagoda. The Ottoman Empire, that dwindling but still great state which stretched from the Balkans in southern Europe through Turkey to the Arab Middle East, chose a pavilion which was a jumble of styles, much like its own peoples who included Christians, Muslims and Jews and many different ethnicities. With colored tiles and bricks, arches, towers, Gothic windows, elements of mosques, of the Grand Bazaar from Constantinople (now Istanbul), it was fitting that the overall result still somehow resembled the Hagia Sophia, once a great Christian church that became a mosque after the Ottoman conquest.

      Germany's pavilion was surmounted by a statue of a herald blowing a trumpet, suitable, perhaps, for the newest of the great European powers. Inside was an exact reproduction of Frederick the Great's library; tactfully the Germans did not focus on his military victories, many of them over France. The western facade hinted, though, at a new rivalry, the one which was developing between Germany and the world's greatest naval power, Great Britain: a panel showed a stormy sea with sirens calling and had a motto rumored to be written by Germany's ruler, Kaiser Wilhelm II, himself: "Fortune's star invites the courageous man to pull up the anchor and throw himself into the conquest of the waves." Elsewhere at the Exposition were reminders of the rapidly burgeoning power of a country that had only come into existence in 1871; the Palace of Electricity contained a giant crane from Germany which could lift 25,000 kilos.

      Austria-Hungary, Germany's closest friend in Europe, had two separate pavilions, one for each half of what had come to be known as the Dual Monarchy. The Austrian one was a triumph of Art Nouveau, the new style which had been catching on in Europe. Marble cherubs and dolphins played around its fountains, giant statues held up its staircases and every inch of its walls appeared to be covered by gold leaf, precious stones, happy or sad masks, or garlands. A grand reception room was set aside for members of the Habsburg family which had presided for centuries over the great empire stretching from the center of Europe down to the Alps and Adriatic, and the exhibits showed off the work of Poles, Czechs, and South Slavs from the Dalmatian coast, only some of the Dual Monarchy's many peoples. Next to the Austrian pavilion and separating it from that of Hungary stood a smaller one, representing the little province of Bosnia, still technically part of the Ottoman Empire but administered since 1878 from Vienna. The Bosnian pavilion, with...

    About the Author-
    • Margaret MacMillan received her PhD from Oxford University and is now a professor of international history at Oxford, where she is also the warden of St. Antony's College. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; a senior fellow of Massey College, University of Toronto; and an honorary fellow of Trinity College, University of Toronto, and of St Hilda's College, Oxford University. She sits on the boards of the Mosaic Institute and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and on the editorial boards of The International History Review and First World War Studies. She also sits on the advisory board of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation and is a Trustee of the Rhodes Trust. Her previous books include Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History, Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World, Women of the Raj: The Mothers, Wives, and Daughters of the British Empire in India, and Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize, and the Duff Cooper Prize and was a New York Times Editors' Choice.
    Reviews-
    • AudioFile Magazine Richard Burnip, a British actor and historian, is ideally suited to narrate this long and informative book. His cadence makes the words come alive and conveys the meaning of the narrative much more completely than the printed page alone. His voice rises and falls when the text needs emphasis, for example, and his pace is ideal for comprehension. This book is a study of how the actions of various people around the globe--from leaders of nations, such as Kaiser Wilhelm II, to hapless officials in various ministries--coalesced to push the world into WWI. Attitudes, missteps, egos, blunders, fanaticism, racism, idealism--they're all here. D.R.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
    • The Wall Street Journal

      "One of the strengths of The War That Ended Peace is MacMillan's ability to evoke the world at the beginning of the twentieth century. . . . MacMillan's portraits of the men who took Europe to war are superb. . . . The logic of MacMillan's argument is such that even now, as she leads us day by day, hour by hour through the aftermath of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, we expect some statesman or other to jump on the lighted fuse. . . . 'There are always choices,' MacMillan keeps reminding us."--The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)

      "Magnificent . . . The War That Ended Peace will certainly rank among the best books of the centennial crop. . . . [MacMillan] deftly navigates the roiling currents and counter-currents of the pre-war decades. . . . The Great War had a kaleidoscope of causes. Ms. MacMillan tackles them all, with [a] blend of detail and sweeping observation."--The Economist

      "The debate over the war's origins has raged for years. Ms. MacMillan's explanation goes straight to the heart of political fallibility. Almost every assumption made by the leaders of Europe turned out to be wrong. Elegantly written, with wonderful character sketches of the key players, this is a book to be treasured."

    • The Daily Beast "Masterly . . . marvelous . . . Historians have long argued about why the war started and whether it could have been avoided. . . . Margaret MacMillan's new book The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 will be a welcome addition to these debates. . . . She takes a long look and examines the many forces that had been moving Europe in the direction of a war for a quarter century. . . . MacMillan is a master of narrative detail and the telling anecdote and this makes for a lively read. She does not break new ground in this book as much as present an exceptionally complex story in a way that will appeal to the general reader. Those looking to understand why World War I happened will have a hard time finding a better place to start."--The Christian Science Monitor

      "Highly readable."--The Nation

      "Margaret MacMillan's The War That Ended Peace [stands] out because [it reflects] the immensely complex web of politics, power, and relationships that made war possible, if not inevitable."
    • Christopher Clark, London Review of Books "A magisterial 600-page panorama . . . a lively and sophisticated overview of the international crises that shook prewar Europe . . . MacMillan is a wry and humane chronicler of this troubled world. . . . The historian's task, she suggests, is not to judge but to understand. . . . As MacMillan observes in a closing sentence that is well worth taking to heart, 'there are always choices.'"
    • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "[A] richly textured narrative about World War I . . . addressing the war's build-up . . . MacMillan tells this familiar story with panache. A major contribution, however, is her presentation of its subtext, as Europe's claims to be the world's most advanced civilization 'were being challenged from without and undermined from within.' . . . MacMillan eloquently shows that 'turning out the lights' was not inevitable, but a consequence of years of decisions and reactions: a slow-motion train wreck few wanted but none could avoid."
    • Library Journal (starred review) "A first-rate study, necessary for all World War I collections. Highly recommended."
    • Booklist "Everything can be lent a veneer of inevitability, but history rarely works in such a linear manner. But MacMillan, famous for her scholarship on the peace concluding WWI, avoids this trap. She shows, again and again, that events could have run in any number of different directions."
    • Kirkus Reviews "Thorough . . . lively . . . Exhaustive in its coverage of diplomatic maneuvering and the internal political considerations of the various nations, the book includes comprehensive discussions of such motivating issues as Germany's fears of being surrounded, Austria-Hungary's fears of falling apart and Rus
    Title Information+
    • Publisher
      Books on Tape
    • OverDrive Listen
      Release date:
    • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
      Release date:
    Digital Rights Information+
    • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
      Burn to CD: 
      Permitted
      Transfer to device: 
      Permitted
      Transfer to Apple® device: 
      Permitted
      Public performance: 
      Not permitted
      File-sharing: 
      Not permitted
      Peer-to-peer usage: 
      Not permitted
      All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

    Status bar:

    powered by OverDrive

    You've reached your checkout limit.

    Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

    Close

    You already have this title checked out.

    Want to go to your Checkouts?

    Close

    Recommendation Limit Reached.

    You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

    Close

    Sign in to recommend this title.

    Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

    Close

    Enhanced Details

    Close
    Close

    Limited availability

    Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

    is available for days.

    Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

    Close

    Permissions

    Close

    The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

    Close

    Holds

    Total holds:


    Close

    Restricted

    Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

    Close

    You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

    To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

    Close

    Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

    There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

    Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

    Close

    You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

    Close

    This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

    Close

    An unexpected error has occurred.

    If this problem persists, please contact support.

    Close

    Close

    NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

    Close
    Buy it now
    and help our library WIN!
    The War That Ended Peace
    The War That Ended Peace
    The Road to 1914
    Margaret Macmillan
    Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
    A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
    Close
    Close

    There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

    Close
    Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

    You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

    If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

    The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

    You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.