Perhaps the gravest difficulty with any single volume book on the Great War is taming the war's complexities while still maintaining a degree of nuance and insight that goes beyond the temptation for simplification. Indeed, the war's scale itself makes this task even more unmanageable. How can an author possibly offer a nuanced treatment that takes into consideration a war fought on three continents, not to mention, the political and social realities on the war's many home fronts and the changing dynamics of differing and complex societies under strain? To be comprehensive is an impossible task especially given the wealth of history written about the war's many subfields and distinct niche subjects. No historian can truly have mastery of the Great War's deep and broad literatures and no single volume can possibly be "comprehensive." [excerpt]
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Version of Record
Isherwood, Ian. Review of Pandora's Box: A History of the First World War, by Jӧrn Leonhard. Journal of World History 30, no. 4 (2019): 621-624.
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This article was originally made available through Project MUSE.