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)