On the outbreak of war in 1914, the armies of the Western Front soon became bogged down in the mud of Flanders and it is these events that many people associate most strongly with the First World War - but its origins and the strategy which governed all but its closing months lay in the East.
In the wide planes and the forests of Eastern Europe three great Empires - Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary grappled in a series of titanic but little-known battles involving millions of men and hundreds of miles of front. It was the Germans, with their excellent equipment and intelligent leadership who dominated the battlefield, even when outnumbered. The Russian and Hapsburg armies moved across a truly Napoleonic canvas with huge masses of cavalry, infantry and baggage.
For three years the fighting swung indeterminately back and forth and the book describes in clear terms the campaigns which provoked the downfall of the three empires and left the world changed forever.
Ion Trewin is a London publisher. Originally a journalist, he was Literary Editor of The Times 1972-79. He was Alan Clark's editor and publisher for the original 'Diaries' and following his death edited two further volumes of the celebrated diaries. In 2008 he edited and introduced THE HUGO YOUNG PAPERS: Thirty Years of British Politics Off the Record (Allen Lane) which won the Channel 4 Political Book of the Year Award 2009. Married with a son who is a literary agent and a daughter who is a teacher, he has since 2006 been literary director of the Man Booker prizes. He was chairman of the Cheltenham Literature Festival 1996-2007.