It Wasn’t Just a European War: WWI in Arabia

Shehryar Fazli in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

Lawerence-243x366If the year 1914 was once said to have inaugurated the 20th century, it appears now to have outgrown it. Its resilience lies not just in the many ways the war that began that year shaped the world, but in the basic mystery of how that war came to be in the first place. Debates about where and when a titanic clash of empires became inevitable, and whether it could have been avoided, are as lively 100 years on as they were in the early decades after its conclusion. What would have happened if a driver hadn’t made a treacherous wrong turn and instead left a dejected Gavrilo Princip to stay seated in a Sarajevo café? What could have happened differently after Princip’s assassination of Archduke Ferdinand to avoid the human and political carnage that followed? Last year, ahead of the war’s centenary, several leading scholars took a fresh crack at examining the origins of the Great War; while each is satisfying in its way — especially Christopher Clark’s superb Sleepwalkers and Margaret MacMillan’s The War That Ended Peace — the war’s inception will probably always remain in part a mystery.

More here.