The Road Less Traveled: The Secret Battle to End the Great War, 1916-1917 Audiobook, by Philip Zelikow Play Audiobook Sample

The Road Less Traveled: The Secret Battle to End the Great War, 1916-1917 Audiobook

The Road Less Traveled: The Secret Battle to End the Great War, 1916-1917 Audiobook, by Philip Zelikow Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Philip Zelikow Publisher: PublicAffairs Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 8.83 hours at 1.5x Speed 6.63 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: March 2021 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781549133954

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

89:51 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

42:11 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

72:11 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Philip Zelikow: > View All...

Publisher Description

During a pivotal few months in the middle of the First World War, all sides—Germany, Britain, and America—believed the war could be concluded. Peace at the end of 1916 would have saved millions of lives and utterly changed the course of history.

Two years into the most terrible conflict the world had ever known, the warring powers faced a crisis. There were no good military options. Money, men, and supplies were running short on all sides. The German chancellor secretly sought President Woodrow Wilson’s mediation to end the war, just as British ministers and France’s president also concluded that the time was right. The Road Less Traveled describes how tantalizingly close these far-sighted statesmen came to ending the war, saving millions of lives, and avoiding the total war that dimmed hopes for a better world.

Theirs was a secret battle that is only now becoming fully understood, a story of civic courage, awful responsibility, and how some leaders rose to the occasion while others shrank from it or chased other ambitions. “Peace is on the floor waiting to be picked up!” pleaded the German ambassador to the United States. This book explains both the strategies and fumbles of people facing a great crossroads of history.

The Road Less Traveled reveals one of the last great mysteries of the Great War: that it simply never should have lasted so long or cost so much.

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“An expert but disturbing account of a noble diplomatic failure. Zelikow…shows how, had the war ended in 1916, it was possible that the twentieth century would have proceeded without communist Russia or Nazi Germany…Outstanding revisionist history demonstrating what could have been a far more peaceful twentieth century.”

— Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 


  • “A well-wrought and haunting book…This is a must-read book for understanding World War I and its consequences.”

    — John M. Cooper Jr, professor emeritus, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • “Zelikow’s sharp account brings World War I into focus and raises a number of fascinating ‘what if’ scenarios. Recommended for all extensive history collections.”

    — Library Journal
  • “Deeply researched and scathingly critical of the war’s foremost political figures, this history offers an intriguing look at what might have been.”

    — Publishers Weekly
  • “My admiration for the carefulness of Zelikow’s research and the nuance of his argument grew virtually by the page. This is a gripping, granular analysis of one of modern history’s most fascinating and consequential might-have-beens, a must read for all practitioners and students of statecraft.”

    — David M. Kennedy, Pulitzer and Bancroft Prize-winning author

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About Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History and J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, both at the University of Virginia. A former career diplomat, he was the executive director of the 9/11 Commission. He worked on international policy in each of the five administrations from Reagan through Obama.