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text 2018-02-14 21:48
Reading progress update: I've read 68%.
The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 - Margaret MacMillan


The rest of the book are notes and sources.


That was a hell of a long, depressing, and infuriating read - but it was worth it.


I haven't been able to keep up with the chapter updates - it didn't help that BL was (and still is) so slow to load anything - but I will add more thoughts to the forthcoming review.

And if we want to point fingers from the twenty-first century we can accuse those who took Europe into war of two things. First, a failure of imagination in not seeing how destructive such a conflict would be and second, their lack of courage to stand up to those who said there was no choice left but to go war. There are always choices.

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text 2018-02-11 11:23
The War that Ended Peace - Reading updates
The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 - Margaret MacMillan

I meant to read this book in 2014, but may have gotten side-tracked with other books about WWI in that year...


I'll keep a running post for reading updates for this book as it will encompass too much information to deal with in one post and I would like to keep notes while reading - and I would like to keep the notes in one place.


Reading updates:


Chapters 10 through 16 - ...


I haven't made notes on these chapters individually. They all describe further events in international politics that are fuelled by imperialism, nationalism, and the general ineptitude of various people in positions where diplomacy and circumspection are requirements which they all seem to be lacking and try to make up for with arrogance, nationalism, and ambition to put themselves on the map.

Aehrenthal recognised that there were risks in stirring up the Balkans. The international scene, he told Austria-Hungary’s Common Ministerial Council in the autumn of 1907, was generally good but there were trouble spots, such as the Balkans themselves or Morocco, and there were turbulent forces at large in the world. ‘The stage is set, the actors are ready, only the costumes are lacking for the play to begin. The second decade of the 20th century may well witness very grave events. In view of the combustible material about, they may come sooner.’32 In 1908 Aehrenthal came close to setting that material alight but luck was with him and the world for the time being.

Alois von Aehrenthal was Austria-Hungary's Foreign Minister, and it is actions and statements like the above that show how unsuitable he was for that positions. Many of his international counterparts seem to have been no better. 


Seriously, these people were bat-shit crazy and it is scary and depressing to read, even more so when one considers how many "politicians" today lack the very qualities - knowledge, tact, circumspection, diplomacy, long-term planning - caused the infernal events of WWI and its consequences.


Previous updates are below the page break.


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text 2018-01-05 02:09
Reading progress update: I've read 784 out of 784 pages.
The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 - Margaret MacMillan

I have mixed feelings about this book. Overall it's a good, readable overview of the run up to the First World War that incorporates an impressive range of factors and includes a number of excellent pen portraits of European leaders. Yet it is peppered with minor errors; more importantly, it doesn't offer anything new to its readers, just points that were culled from other, previously published materials. Perhaps if I hadn't read Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers I would have a higher opinion of this book, but Clark is an extremely hard act to follow.

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text 2018-01-01 20:03
Reading progress update: I've read 28 out of 784 pages.
The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 - Margaret MacMillan

Two chapters in, and so far I'm finding the book a disappointment. Instead of offering something a little fresh, she's covering well-trodden ground which she's trying to enliven with portentous prose. Hopefully the text improves once we get past the preliminaries.

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review 2017-10-31 14:31
#Audiobook Review: The Trouble with Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones
The Trouble with Twelfth Grave: A Novel - Darynda Jones,-Macmillan Audio-,Lorelei King

Note: this review contains spoilers from earlier books in the series, to include the surprising ending of the previous book.


Opening three days after the explosive conclusion of Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, Charley is searching for her husband-turned-malevolent-god, Rey’azikeen. No longer Reyes after his short jaunt into the god glass hell dimension, Rey’azikeen is loose and Charley has been given one more day to find and stop him before Jehovah sends his army to capture him.


The Trouble with Twelfth Grave is a wonderful addition to this crazy, hilarious series. Overall, the story is shorter than and far more direct than previous titles (well, as direct as Charley Davidson can be). Each strand of the plot is clear and makes sense, and then Ms. Jones expertly draws them all together to create a larger picture as the book progresses. Charley uses her wit and cunning, along with her team of friends, to solve multiple cases that seem unrelated, but ultimately tie in loose ends or come together by the end of the book. 


I love how free Charley is in this book - she’s back. The whole “do I trust Reyes or not” issue seems to FINALLY be put to rest as Charley struggles with the very real possibility she may lose the love of her life forever this time. She goes from moment to moment, bringing readers and listeners along for one crazy ride. The convoluted subplots are absent, leaving behind a solid story with a bring big twist at the end. Additionally, the continuity issues I’ve noted in the past are either gone, or irrelevant because the rest of the story runs so smoothly. Finally, while the author does do some info dumping, it’s in the form of children’s books, and scattered throughout the story, rather than at the very end.


Lorelei King, my all-time favorite narrator, continues to capture Charley’s unique and crazy personality, easily jumping from one subject to the next without pause. She has mastered Charley’s sarcasm and sincerity, her passion and her fury. I think the only reason I can keep up with Charley’s ADD lifestyle is due to Ms. King’s masterful performance. And it’s not just Charley, but Ms. King provides a large range of unique voices for every character, making the recording sound like a cast of dozens, rather than one.


In the end, I really enjoyed listening to The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, and with the way the story ended, I cannot wait to find out how Ms. Jones is going to wrap up the series with her thirteenth title.


My Rating: B+
Narration: A+


Review copy provided by Macmillan Audio.

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