First World War

[First World War ]
Year of publication: 
Moral assessment: 
Type: Thought
Nothing inappropriate.
Requires prior general knowledge of the subject.
Readers with knowledgeable about the subject matter.
Contains doctrinal errors of some importance.
Whilst not being explicitly against the faith, the general approach or its main points are ambiguous or opposed to the Church’s teachings.
Incompatible with Catholic doctrine.
Transmits values: 
Sexual content: 
Violent content: 
Vulgar language: 
Ideas that contradict Church teaching: 
The rating of the different categories comes from the opinion of Delibris' collaborators

The author (London, 1936), professor at Merton College, Oxford, was Winston Churchill's official biographer and, among other books he published, are Second World War (1986), The Holocaust (1990) and The Day the War Ended (1995). As for First World War, Gilbert explains in the opening pages that the attempt to recount a conflict in which 9 million soldiers died would require the writing of 20,000 books like this one, with only one page devoted to each soldier. Nevertheless, Gilbert has the good sense to intersperse hundreds of anecdotes from singular biographies that he has had the patience to study separately among the abstract data of strategies, alliances and overall assessments. This approach explains why this history also tells us what later "famous" people, such as McMillan, Witgenstein, E. Hemingway, Einstein, A. Eden, A. Hitler, H. Truman, H. Göring, B. Mussolini, Pétain and D. McArthur, or the part played by W. Churchill in the invention of the battle tank (1917), were doing in the 1914-18 war. The author takes care to soften the account of personal cruelties, although he cannot conceal the horrors of the use of asphyxiating gases (chlorine, at first, then phosgene, iperite, etc.). It may be said that this is a story told from the English point of view, but it refrains from moral qualifications about the actions of either side.

Author: Fernando Jadraque Sánchez, Spain, 2021