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A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918 Audiobook, by G. J. Meyer Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: G. J. Meyer Narrator: Robin Sachs Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2012 ISBN: 9781483077802
4.00053125 out of 54.00053125 out of 54.00053125 out of 54.00053125 out of 54.00053125 out of 5 4.00 (640 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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The First World War is one of history’s greatest tragedies. In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed twenty million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today.

World War I is unique in the number of questions about it that remain unsettled. After more than ninety years, scholars remain divided on these questions, and it seems likely that they always will. A World Undone does not claim to have all the answers—if answers are even possible. However, it will provide listeners with enough information to understand why the questions persist and, perhaps in some cases, to arrive at conclusions of their own.

A World Undone is a grand, tragic story brilliantly told.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A World Undone is an original and very readable account of one of the most significant and often misunderstood events of the last century. With a historian’s eye for clearheaded analysis and a storyteller’s talent for detail and narrative, G. J. Meyer presents a compelling account of the blunders that produced the world’s first ‘great war’ and set the stage for many of the tragic events that followed.”

    Steven M. Gillon, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Thundering, magnificent…This is a book of true greatness that prompts moments of sheer joy and pleasure. Researched to the last possible dot…It will earn generations of admirers.”

    Washington Times

  • “Meyer’s sketches of the British Cabinet, the Russian Empire, the aging Austro-Hungarian Empire, the leaders of Prussia with their newly minted swagger, are lifelike and plausible. His account of the tragic folly of Gallipoli is masterful.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “This is one of those books where you read every page…Meyer organizes his book chronologically and accompanies each chapter with a short background essay…[A World Undone] has the very best qualities for this kind of comprehensive approach: a gift for compression and an eye for the telling detail.”

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • “A comprehensive history aimed at the general reader…You finish this book feeling you’ve learned everything anyone reasonably needs to know about the Great War.”

    Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

  • “Meyer breathes life into the human story within the Great War. He provides in-depth profiles of many of the political and military leaders of that era and explains why they were so important…This is a literary vision of WWI that few of us have ever encountered. Simply put, this is historical reporting at its best.”

    Smoky Mountain Sentinel

  • “[Meyer] blends ‘foreground, background, and sidelights’ to highlight the complex interactions of apparently unconnected events behind the four-year catastrophic war that destroyed a world and defined a century…Accomplished with brio.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “It may seem impossible to write an ‘intimate’ account of such a global catastrophe, but Meyer has succeeded in doing just that: a masterful narrative history that eloquently conveys the sense of a civilization engaged in massive self-destruction, while its leaders, blinded by hubris, nationalism, or outright ignorance, led the charge…He captures the horror and futility of trench warfare, the slaughter at Gallipoli, and the genocide of Armenians as experienced by those who were there. Meyer also offers interesting and controversial insights into the motivations of many of the key participants. This is an outstanding survey of a cataclysm that still casts a shadow over world affairs.”


  • A New York Times bestseller

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joseph | 6/5/2016

    " This is the most complete book on the 1st World War that I have ever read or heard. It deals with all the major and minor combatants including the key political and military players from each country. The narration by Robin Sachs is probably the best I have ever heard. Highly recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy | 2/20/2014

    " Doing research for the sequel to my novel I started reading a number of histories of World War I. This is simply put: an amazing single volume history of the war, its causes, and course of events (but not the post-treaty fallout). I've read hundreds (or more) of history books, and as single volume war histories go -- this is excellent. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the world we live in, because the modern political arena was forged in World War I (far more than WWII). The often autocratic (or at least Imperialist) regiems of Europe were not prepared for what it really meant to bring the full might of post industrial powers into conflict. The last real shakeup of Europe had been a hundred years earlier with the Napoleonic wars, but the 19th century had remade the economies of the world. The clash, cataclysmic in terms of everything, ended the old world order. All of the big old autocratic states collapsed (Prussia, Russia, the Hapsburgs, the Ottomans) and even the winners were left unable to hold onto their empires. Meyer does a great job introducing the players gradually so as to not overburden the story of the war's origins with background. It reads like a taut horror novel -- and that's pretty much what it is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Edmund | 2/19/2014

    " One of the best histories, of any era, that I've read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 2/17/2014

    " This is an excellent one-volume history of World War I that balances the imperative to be comprehensive with the imperative to be readable and concise (quite a trick for a 600+ page book). The book does equal justice to the politics of the war and the strategies and tactics of the armies with neither getting short shrift or excessive attention. As readable a history of World War I as ever penned. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Verena | 2/17/2014

    " Very thorough review of the tragic events of World War I. Highly recommendable for history fans with an interest in the subject. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christi | 2/6/2014

    " I loved this book. It is a fairly easy read with a lot of good information. Wow! I am learned so much about this horrible war that I didn't know before. I have learned that it wasn't so much political leaders/emperors/tzars that wanted war - it was glory hungry military leaders that led Europe into a literal bloodbath. I didn't know that Winston Churchill was so involved in WWI (though sidelined about halfway through) and the development of the tank. This book has changed the way I think about historical figures of WWI (Kaiser Wilhelm II, Tzar Nicholas II etc.) and the history of war in the last 100 years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sueroberts123 | 1/28/2014

    " A really great book covering all of WWI. It contained a lot of background on the politics, as well as the reasons it all started. Also discussion of particular battled, commanders and armies, which I wasn't as interested in compared to the geo-policital material. Really easy to follow, the author does a really good job of getting it all in one book (600+) pages. Left me feeling unbelievably ignorant for not understanding this earlier in my life. So much of the past 100 years of history, as well as a lot from my lifetime, was set up by this war and aftermath. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 1/20/2014

    " An all in one book about The 'Great' War (aka WWI). Wow. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jon | 1/4/2014

    " Probably the best one-volume history of the Great War I've ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beau | 12/31/2013

    " A good book for historical minded people. This book is not an easy read, even for someone extremely intrested in the topic. You will be well rewarded when you finish with a dramatically better understanding of the world we live in today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 12/5/2013

    " Outstanding read. Could use more maps. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathryn | 11/22/2013

    " Excellent presentation of a complex subject. Short, chronological chapters interlaced with essays that expand upon specific key elements to give you a better understanding of WWI's historic context. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 asf_73 | 11/14/2013

    " I was engrossed with Meyer's story telling of WW1. The way he navigates through the complex web that lead to the beginning of the war was great. I couldn't recommend this book enough. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay | 6/29/2013

    " Feaking fantastic in detail, background and scope. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 5/16/2013

    " In depth but quite readable account of the first world war. It's not often that I would describe a non-fiction book of this length as a page turner but this meets that description. If only all popular history were written this well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fred | 6/20/2012

    " wow, great read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter | 6/5/2012

    " Easier to read than Gilbert's history of the war. Just finished reading it for the fourth time. "

About the Author

G. J. Meyer is a professional writer whose bylines have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Harper’s, and many other newspapers and magazines. While working for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship by Harvard University. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Tudors, the Edgar Award–winning The Memphis Murders, and other works. He lives in Wiltshire, England, and is currently at work on his next book, The Borgias.

About the Narrator

Robin Sachs (1951–2013), actor and narrator, was raised in London and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His audiobook narrations earned ten Earphones Awards. His acting credits include Alias, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dynasty, Nowhere Man, Babylon 5, Diagnosis Murder, Galaxy Quest, Northfork, Ocean’s 11, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Megalodon.