79 books like Armaments and the Coming of War

By David Stevenson,

Here are 79 books that Armaments and the Coming of War fans have personally recommended if you like Armaments and the Coming of War. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War

Gordon Martel Author Of The Origins of the First World War

From my list on why the First World War happened.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of diplomacy, war, and empire. A founding editor of The International History Review, I have written books on ‘Imperial Diplomacy’, on the origins of the First World War, and on the July Crisis. I have edited: the 5-volume Encyclopedia of War and the 4-volume Encyclopedia of Diplomacy; the journals of A.L. Kennedy for the Royal Historical Society; numerous collections of essays, and the multi-volume Seminar Studies in History series. I am currently working on a two-volume study of Political Intelligence in Great Britain, 1900-1950, which is a group biography of the men who made up the Department of Political Intelligence in Britain, 1917-1919

Gordon's book list on why the First World War happened

Gordon Martel Why did Gordon love this book?

There are many different vantage points from which to view the road to war in 1914, but an essential one is that which focuses on the ethos, politics, and strategy of one of the constellations of European Great Powers. In the 1980s, Macmillan published a series of books focusing on each of these, written by acknowledged experts (Zara Steiner on Britain, John Keiger on France, Dominic Lieven on Russia, Volker Berghahn on Germany, Richard Bosworth on Italy). The last in the series appeared in 1990, when Samuel Williamson published his study of Austria-Hungary.

It was well worth the wait. Comprehensive in its structure, balanced in its judgments, meticulous in its research, Williamson established a new standard for studies of the Great Powers. His conclusion – that Austria-Hungary was largely responsible for initiating the July Crisis and, ultimately, the war itself – is persuasively argued and the story compellingly told.

By Samuel R. Williamson, Jr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A major re-examination of Habsburg decision-making from 1912 to July 1914, the study argues that Austria-Hungary and not Germany made the crucial decisions for war in the summer of 1914. Based on extensive new archival research, the book traces the gradual militarization of Austro-Hungarian foreign policy during the Balkan Wars. The disasters of those wars and the death of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir-apparent and a force for peace in the monarchy, convinced the Habsburg elite that only a war against Serbia would end the South Slav threat to the monarchy's existence. Williamson also describes Russia's assertive foreign policy…


Book cover of Raymond Poincaré

Gordon Martel Author Of The Origins of the First World War

From my list on why the First World War happened.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of diplomacy, war, and empire. A founding editor of The International History Review, I have written books on ‘Imperial Diplomacy’, on the origins of the First World War, and on the July Crisis. I have edited: the 5-volume Encyclopedia of War and the 4-volume Encyclopedia of Diplomacy; the journals of A.L. Kennedy for the Royal Historical Society; numerous collections of essays, and the multi-volume Seminar Studies in History series. I am currently working on a two-volume study of Political Intelligence in Great Britain, 1900-1950, which is a group biography of the men who made up the Department of Political Intelligence in Britain, 1917-1919

Gordon's book list on why the First World War happened

Gordon Martel Why did Gordon love this book?

John Keiger followed his study of French foreign policy with a ground-breaking biography of the most important Frenchman of the day, Raymond Poincaré. Readers have a multitude of biographies to turn to in their quest for an explanation of the war’s origins: the rulers of Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary; the leading politicians, foreign ministers, strategists, and diplomats of most of the states involved. But no biographical study has surpassed Keiger’s.

Poincaré was a pivotal figure in the diplomacy and politics of Europe before the war, serving in numerous positions, including those of foreign minister, prime minister, and president. His devotion to the alliance with Russia and his distrust of Germany led his critics to denounce him for his role in the outbreak of war. Keiger’s magnificent biography provides us with an elegantly written, thoroughly researched, and nuanced account of Poincaré’s role and policies.

By John F.V. Keiger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Raymond Poincaré as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This study is a scholarly biography of one of France's foremost political leaders. In a career which ran from the 1880s to the 1930s, one of the most formative periods of modern French history, Poincare held the principal offices of state. He played crucial roles in France's entry into the Great War, the organisation of the war effort, the peace settlement, the reparations question, the occupation of the Ruhr and the reorganisation of French finances in the 1920s. His life and work is surrounded by controversy and myth, from 'Poincare-la-guerre' to 'Poincare-le-franc', which this book dissects. Using a host of…


Book cover of July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914

Gordon Martel Author Of The Origins of the First World War

From my list on why the First World War happened.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of diplomacy, war, and empire. A founding editor of The International History Review, I have written books on ‘Imperial Diplomacy’, on the origins of the First World War, and on the July Crisis. I have edited: the 5-volume Encyclopedia of War and the 4-volume Encyclopedia of Diplomacy; the journals of A.L. Kennedy for the Royal Historical Society; numerous collections of essays, and the multi-volume Seminar Studies in History series. I am currently working on a two-volume study of Political Intelligence in Great Britain, 1900-1950, which is a group biography of the men who made up the Department of Political Intelligence in Britain, 1917-1919

Gordon's book list on why the First World War happened

Gordon Martel Why did Gordon love this book?

The First World War broke out in August 1914; by September 1914 articles and essays began to appear that defended – or attacked – the policies of the men responsible for the July Crisis. Books soon followed. And they have never stopped. No crisis in history has received more attention than that of July 1914. The topic, with its vast complexities, missed opportunities, and contradictory explanations, continues to fascinate us.

No book on the subject is more captivating than Thomas Otte’s day-by-day unravelling of the complicated diplomacy pursued by the statesmen of Europe. His mastery of the subject is impressive (he has written dozens of articles and essays on the diplomacy of prewar Europe) and his balanced treatment of the topic serves as a model of dispassionate scholarship.

By T. G. Otte,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked July Crisis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a magisterial new account of Europe's tragic descent into a largely inadvertent war in the summer of 1914. Thomas Otte reveals why a century-old system of Great Power politics collapsed so disastrously in the weeks from the 'shot heard around the world' on June 28th to Germany's declaration of war on Russia on August 1st. He shows definitively that the key to understanding how and why Europe descended into world war is to be found in the near-collective failure of statecraft by the rulers of Europe and not in abstract concepts such as the 'balance of power' or…


Book cover of Roads to Glory: Late Imperial Russia and the Turkish Straits

Gordon Martel Author Of The Origins of the First World War

From my list on why the First World War happened.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of diplomacy, war, and empire. A founding editor of The International History Review, I have written books on ‘Imperial Diplomacy’, on the origins of the First World War, and on the July Crisis. I have edited: the 5-volume Encyclopedia of War and the 4-volume Encyclopedia of Diplomacy; the journals of A.L. Kennedy for the Royal Historical Society; numerous collections of essays, and the multi-volume Seminar Studies in History series. I am currently working on a two-volume study of Political Intelligence in Great Britain, 1900-1950, which is a group biography of the men who made up the Department of Political Intelligence in Britain, 1917-1919

Gordon's book list on why the First World War happened

Gordon Martel Why did Gordon love this book?

One of the most enduring explanations for the outbreak of war in 1914 is that of ‘imperialism’. The argument that competition for resources beyond the ‘natural’ frontiers of European states created bitter rivalries among the Great Powers had been made many times before 1914, whenever a crisis in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East threatened to turn into a shooting war. But disentangling the complex motives, strategies, and tactics that intersected Great Power politics is a daunting task.

One of the finest case studies of the imperial mentalité can be found in Bobroff’s fascinating book. Not only does he break new ground in this study, but he has mined the Russian archives to great effect, moving the subject along from grand, unproven assertions concerning Russian policies to a detailed and persuasive understanding of both their ambitions and their fears.

By Ronald P. Bobroff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Roads to Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Until now, it has been accepted that the Turkish Straits - the Russian fleet's gateway to the Mediterranean - were a key factor in shaping Russian policy in the years leading to World War I. Control of the Straits had always been accepted as the major priority of Imperial Russia's foreign policy. In this powerfully argued revisionist history, Ronald Bobroff exposes the true Russian concern before the outbreak of war: the containment of German aggression. Based on extensive new research, Bobroff provides fascinating new insights into Russia's state development before the revolution, examining the policies and personal correspondence of its…


Book cover of The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

Elliot Y. Neaman Author Of A Dubious Past: Ernst Junger and the Politics of Literature after Nazism

From my list on war and collective memory.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of modern European history at the University of San Francisco. I have written or co-edited three major books and many articles and reviews, as well as serving as a correspondent for a German newspaper. My areas of expertise are intellectual, political, military, and cultural history. I also work on the history of espionage and served as a consultant to the CIA on my last book about student radicals in Germany.

Elliot's book list on war and collective memory

Elliot Y. Neaman Why did Elliot love this book?

I usually get bored by very long books too full of dates, people you have never heard of, and endless details, and I am a historian! But I make an exception for this book.

Clark took me back vividly to a period in history that has been covered so often by rewriting the old storylines of WWI with flair and freshness. I came to better understand why World War I was not just a fluke, started by the black swan event of the assassination of the Austrian heir to the throne and his wife in a backwater of the empire on June 28th, 1914.

In spite of the title, if the European leaders were sleepwalkers, and in a narrow sense they were, Clark also provides plenty of evidence that the underlying tensions in the Austro-Hungarian empire were like huge dry piles of straw just waiting for a flame to ignite…

By Christopher Clark,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sleepwalkers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Sleepwalkers acclaimed historian and author of Iron Kingdom, Christopher Clark, examines
the causes of the First World War.

SUNDAY TIMES and INDEPENDENT BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2012

The moments that it took Gavrilo Princip to step forward to the stalled car and shoot dead Franz Ferdinand and his wife were perhaps the most fateful of the modern era. An act of terrorism of staggering efficiency, it fulfilled its every aim: it would liberate Bosnia from Habsburg rule and it created a powerful new Serbia, but it also brought down four great empires, killed millions of men and destroyed…


Book cover of Imagining the Balkans

Davor Džalto Author Of Yugoslavia: Peace, War, and Dissolution

From my list on Yugoslavia and the Balkans and why they matter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm professor in the Department of Eastern Christian Studies at University College Stockholm and president of The Institute for the Study of Culture and Christianity. I focus primarily on human freedom and creativity, which I explore as aesthetic, socio-political, and existentially relevant phenomena. I've been teaching and publishing in the domains of visual arts, art history and theory, but also in religion/theology and political philosophy.

Davor's book list on Yugoslavia and the Balkans and why they matter

Davor Džalto Why did Davor love this book?

This is an extraordinary book that gives a broad understanding of the Balkan region in its cultural and historical contexts. The book explores the concept of the Balkans and its changing meaning which far surpasses its geographical connotations, becoming some kind of a concept-container capable of containing all sorts of fantasies and political aspirations. The book does an excellent job of depicting how various imperialisms managed to determine, to a very significant extent, the fate of peoples in the Balkans, while creating a certain image of the region whose significance extends far beyond its physical boundaries.

By Maria N. Todorova,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imagining the Balkans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"If the Balkans hadn't existed, they would have been invented" was the verdict of Count Hermann Keyserling in his famous 1928 publication, Europe. Over ten years ago, Maria Todorova traced the relationship between the reality and the invention. Based on a rich selection of travelogues, diplomatic accounts, academic surveys, journalism, and belles-lettres in many languages, Imagining the Balkans explored the ontology of the Balkans from the sixteenth
century to the present day, uncovering the ways in which an insidious intellectual tradition was constructed, became mythologized, and is still being transmitted as discourse.

Maria Todorova, who was raised in the Balkans,…


Book cover of Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I

Adam Zamoyski Author Of Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe

From my list on to truly understand the First World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

Adam Zamoyski is a British historian of Polish origin. He is the author of over a dozen award winning books. His family originates in Poland. His parents left the country when it was invaded by Germany and Russia in 1939, and were stranded in exile when the Soviets took it over at the end of World War II. Drawn to it as much by the historical processes at work there as by family ties, Zamoyski began to visit Poland in the late 1960s. His interest in the subject is combined with a feel for its connections to the history and culture of other nations, and a deep understanding of the pan-European context.

Adam's book list on to truly understand the First World War

Adam Zamoyski Why did Adam love this book?

This book provides a radically alternative perspective on what this event meant for ordinary people. Using a wide range of letters, diaries, and memoirs, Neiberg reveals that most people had no idea what the war was about and saw no good reason for it, while the soldiers were often confused as to whom they were fighting and which part of the world they were in. It is a short book but an enlightening read.

By Michael Neiberg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dance of the Furies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The common explanation for the outbreak of World War I depicts Europe as a minefield of nationalism, needing only the slightest pressure to set off an explosion of passion that would rip the continent apart. But in a crucial reexamination of the outbreak of violence, Michael Neiberg shows that ordinary Europeans, unlike their political and military leaders, neither wanted nor expected war during the fateful summer of 1914. By training his eye on the ways that people outside the halls of power reacted to the rapid onset and escalation of the fighting, Neiberg dispels the notion that Europeans were rabid…


Book cover of The World's Banker 1849-1999

Patricia Goldstone Author Of Aaronsohn's Maps: The Man Who Might Have Created Peace in the Modern Middle East

From my list on changing discussions about the modern Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the Middle East ever since being taken to see Kismet at the age of 3. I travel there extensively, married into it, and have lived inside the Middle East community in the US for the past thirty years. I’m also a journalist, a playwright, and the author of three non-fiction books, Making the World Safe for Tourism, Aaronsohn’s Maps, and INTERLOCK: Art, Conspiracy, and The Shadow Worlds of Mark Lombardi. Although I wouldn't argue that the issue of women’s rights isn't an urgent one, as a woman who focuses on history and geopolitics, I’m often disturbed at how it's being used to whip up popular emotion and obscure other driving forces. 

Patricia's book list on changing discussions about the modern Middle East

Patricia Goldstone Why did Patricia love this book?

Ferguson shows us a neural network of another sort: the web of offshore finance and international co-investment that culminated in the First World War—not at Sarajevo but in the Middle East, where Great Britain and Germany faced off over railroad access to Britain’s prize possession, India. Wrapped in the thoroughly engaging family history of the far-flung Rothschilds and how they knit themselves together in an empire of their own, Ferguson embeds an equally enthralling history of what he calls “Globalization I,” the 19th-century race to connect the empires established in the preceding age of exploration with their European centers of power by commercial rather than military means, with railway and telecommunications lines as their primary instruments. I am indebted to him for inspiring insights into how, in the years preceding World War I, the great European railway race came down to the finish line, the last and crucial link connecting…

By Niall Ferguson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World's Banker 1849-1999 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This second volume of Niall Ferguson's acclaimed, landmark history of the legendary Rothschild banking dynasty concludes his myth-breaking portrait of one of the most powerful and fascinating families of modern times. With all the depth, clarity and drama with which he traced the Rothschild's ascent, Ferguson shows how their power waned as conflicts from Crimea to the Second World War repeatedly threatened the stability of their worldwide empire, and how their failure to establish themselves successfully in the United States would prove fateful. At once a classic family saga and a major work of economic, social and political history, this…


Book cover of The Woman on the Bench

Miranda Rijks Author Of What She Knew

From my list on twisty British psychological thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of 17 twisty psychological thrillers, many of which are Amazon bestsellers. Most of them are set in southern England where I live. My life was tipped upside down in 2015 when I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. Although I have a masters in writing and was traditionally published for non-fiction, I hadn’t been brave enough to put my fiction out in the world. Cancer changed that. I’m now a full-time author, writing about scary things that happen to ordinary people. I’m also an avid reader of thrillers and enjoy nothing more than reading a book with an ending that makes me gasp!

Miranda's book list on twisty British psychological thrillers

Miranda Rijks Why did Miranda love this book?

Not only is this a great story but I think it’s beautifully written, even more exceptional because this is Stevens’ debut. Quite often, psychological thrillers are such page-turners, the reader doesn’t properly appreciate the words. I think that Elliot Stevens achieves both literary finesse and fast-paced action in this book. Set in London and the south of England, it’s tightly woven with an original premise, and as a bonus, has a fabulous twist at the end. Mark and Cecilia seem to have the perfect life, until he meets Alice. But he can’t leave Cecilia because she knows too much…

By Eliot Stevens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Woman on the Bench as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At last, Mark has found the perfect woman. There’s just one small problem – his wife.

Married couple Mark and Cecilia seem to have it all – looks, wealth, love. But behind closed doors, things are very different – they live in silent resentment, their marriage broken by the shattering loss of the child they so desperately wanted.

Enter Alice – Mark’s idea of the perfect woman. She appears from nowhere and offers Mark the chance of a new life filled with love, passion, and – finally – the joys of parenthood. Everything he’s ever dreamed of.

But there’s a…


Book cover of The Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914

Joy Porter Author Of Trauma, Primitivism and the First World War: The Making of Frank Prewett

From my list on cultural history of the First World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

Joy Porter is an Irish writer who grew up in war (The Troubles). She is intrigued by how we relate to one another culturally and by what makes peace and conflict happen. She researches Indigenous, environmental, and diplomatic themes in an interdisciplinary context and co-leads the Treatied Spaces Research Group at The University of Hull. U.K. Fascinated by the mind, by what makes us love, persevere, transcend and escape the legacies of conflict, her work exposes how culture impacts the world.

Joy's book list on cultural history of the First World War

Joy Porter Why did Joy love this book?

Philipp Blom has an exceptional mind. This book looks at the fourteen years prior to the outbreak of the First World War with a depth and breadth you won’t find anywhere else. It somehow captures the broad, transdisciplinary rush to knowledge, to comprehend the new, that at a deep level characterized this period. You learn something or get a fresh perspective on almost every page and you begin to understand the pre-war years for what they were - a powderkeg of change ready to burst across almost every established boundary.

By Philipp Blom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Vertigo Years as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Europe, 1900-1914: a world adrift, a pulsating era of creativity and contradictions. The major topics of the day: terrorism, globalization, immigration, consumerism, the collapse of moral values, and the rivalry of superpowers. The twentieth century was not born in the trenches of the Somme or Passchendaele,but rather in the fifteen vertiginous years preceding World War I. In this short span of time, a new world order was emerging in ultimately tragic contradiction to the old. These were the years in which the political and personal repercussions of the Industrial Revolution were felt worldwide: Cities grew like never before as people…


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