"THE GREATEST WAR OF MODERN TIMES, AND PERHAPS IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF THE HUMAN RACE": 13-VOLUME CONTEMPORARY HISTORY OF WORLD WAR I, COMPILED AS THE WAR CONTINUED, WITH THOUSANDS OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ILLUSTRATIONS
(WORLD WAR I) WILSON, H.W.; HAMMERTON, J.A. The Great War. The Standard History of the All-Europe [later volumes: World-Wide] Conflict. London: Amalgamated Press, 1914-19. Thirteen volumes. Large quarto, contemporary three-quarter tan calf, raised bands, black morocco spine labels. $5500.
First edition of this comprehensive, richly illustrated contemporary history of World War I, compiled as the war progressed, with thousands of photographs, portraits, maps and artistic renderings. An impressive and handsomely bound set.
This history focuses on the ground war and the armies, but also covers in detail the naval engagements and the use of submarines, the relatively novel development of air power, and the war's devastating effects on civilian populations and infrastructure. The first nine volumes use the title "Standard History of the All-Europe Conflict"; by Volume X it was clearly necessary to change this to "World-Wide Conflict." The final volume includes chapters on the founding of the League of Nations, the demobilization of British soldiers and war workers, the development of wireless communication, and the terms of the Armistice, and finally "The Saving of Civilization: Britain's Crowning Achievement." "It had long been doubted whether democratic forms of Government were compatible with the strain and agony involved in persecuting a war to the death… But in this war, democracy—even with many faults at home—proved its competence to hold its own against an autocratic antagonist of immense strength, who had organized for a gigantic war during the previous half-century" (XIII, 573). Several plates are printed in color, a number are tinted. Almost every page contains at least one illustration.
Only occasional marginal foxing, interiors generally clean. A few covers with mild discoloration, bindings near-fine and quite attractive.