The Greatest Day in History

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Member Reviews

Mr. Best vividly describes the last weeks of World War I from a multitude of different perspectives, including German, British, and American soldiers and POW as well as those higher up the chain of command. He shows how the Germans were being boxed in, divided between fighting the Allies and the rebels within their own country trying to create a Bolshevik revolution, and how the Allies used this to end the war on their terms.
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This book takes us through the final week of World War 2. 
The writing style of this book was strange and not something that I enjoyed 
I also think many details were omitted
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An interesting book about the day the first world war ended full of facts and interesting details i recommend for any fan of history
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Best wrote an amazing story about the Armistice and the events that led up to it.  Not only did he give the view of the politicians and the military commanders, but he also wrote from the point of view of the men from the trenches.  It was interesting to see the divide between the kaiser and the military and the politicians of Germany.  It also delved into plight that both soldiers and civilians faced about trying not to die when the war was so close to ending.  Then there was the aspect of the Bolshevist revolution and and impact that it had on the politics behind bringing the war to an end.  There were also hints and tidbits that explained how WWII was already starting to form from this war even though everybody wanted the war to end.  I can only imagine what it must have felt like for all of those people to hear tat the war had finally ended.  It must have been one, if not the greatest, day of their lives. Reading this book helped me to feel what the people were feeling during that tumultuous time.  I would give this book four in a half out of five starts and would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about  WWI History or Politics during war.
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The synopsis for this book is as follows 
‘The Greatest Day in History charts the events leading up to Armistice Day 1918, the day the First World War finally came to an end. Everyone remembered where they were on 11 November 1918, from Marlene Dietrich in Berlin and Gandhi on his sick bed to Charles de Gaulle in a German prison camp'. 

I found this book and the way it portrayed the historic events engaging. Although the facts of history are well known I was eager to read and picked it up at every opportunity. The author portrays the military and political situation of the time through the lens of people from Generals to front line troops and political leaders to civilians who lived and some died in that final week characters of the big players through detailed research. I also felt some sympathy for the Germans with their faces ground into the dirt in the process of acceptance of their surrender. I enjoyed my time with this book and would read more by this author. Would recommend.
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Nicholas Best steps us through the last eight days of the war before an armistice was declared; we witness the end of each part of the fighting and see the devastating effect the war had on the civilians and the men in action. The Allied powers: Great Britain, France, Italy, Romania, Russia, Japan, and the United States were needed to defeat Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). Other countries in the British Empire fought alongside the Allied powers including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. The war also took place in Belgium, Egypt, India, Palestine, Rhodesia, and Serbia. The mutiny of the Bolshevik sailors at Kiel on the Baltic which spread quickly to other parts of Europe played a significant role in ending the war.

The German hierarchy was in disarray and the German soldiers were demoralized - they no longer seemed like men. General Rawlinson had captured 10,000 German prisoners on day two. The Kaiser, however, seemed unaware of the unhealthy situation; he was traveling on his personal train, making speeches, and distributing medals. General Wilhelm Groener was appalled at the state of the troops, and he recommended to Germany’s new Chancellor, Prince Max Von Baden, ending the war, but there was a stumbling block to peace - the army supported the Kaiser; the people opposed him. General Hindenburg considered a plan for how the Kaiser would undergo an honorable death leading his troops into battle. 

Sadly, historians are confused about what caused the first World War. Many diverse reasons may have been in play - the polarization of Europe, alliances, nationalism, imperialism, and militarism. Regrettably, there was the senseless waste of lives at the end of the war caused by false newspaper stories that the armistice had taken place. Also, some commands that the valid order did not reach, and some commanders who wanted more time to seek glory; all contributed to 10,944 (2,738 dead) casualties on the Western Front on the concluding day of the war. 

The Greatest Day in History is an effectively researched book providing more information that I would have thought possible. We understand the war from the perspective of field marshals and generals down to soldiers, sailors, and airmen. The hierarchy wrestled with hard questions about an armistice; should the goal be a total defeat or should there be a peace agreement? What should be the terms of a truce? What effect will an armistice cause on relationships after the war? 

Nicholas’s research has produced glimpses of people we come to know during WWII. This information significantly enhances the pleasure of the book as we can evaluate how WWI may have affected the next 25 years until WWII. Many people could not be happy at the end of the war; they had lost too many of their generation, and the world would never be the same again.
 
I enjoyed discovering in The Greatest Day in History that the New Zealanders finally pushed the German army out of France and captured Le Quesnoy, a fortress since 1346. Amid cheering civilians, about 1,000 German prisoners were marched out of the town at nightfall. The French civilians appreciated their interaction with the New Zealanders and the Tommies after suffering four years of Boche occupation; the victorious troops were shocked to observe the downtrodden looks, and the abject fear in the eyes of the French civilians caused by the Boche brutality.

The Great War (1914 to 1918) ended in chaos, mud, exhaustion, thousands of unnecessary deaths, and defeat for the Germans. Nicholas writes small vignettes on every page of The Greatest Day in History which brings us into the conflict, and the minds of the troops and civilians. It’s a tour de force and thoroughly informative and engaging. 

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars for its excellent research and immensely compelling and exhaustive account of the last eight days of the war. I have no dislikes at all; I enjoyed every chapter, every page, and every word in this fascinating account. I recommend the book to people who love history, war, politics and a well-told story. I do not recommend it people who prefer romance.
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The author wrote an interesting book about the end of the Great War.  The number 11 was prominent due to the date and time, along with the number of casualties when the war ended.  This book provided me with information that I hadn't heard before and encouraged me to do further research.
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