Walks you through the first world war, by year, by theater.
Relies heavily on first-hand sources; letters written by soldiers, memoirs written by leaders.
Quickly you come to realize the futility of the war. Despite far superior training and weapons, the Germans manage to get bogged down in France. In one day of fighting, at the beginning of the war, France loses 75,000 soldiers with 250,000 injured.
The role of artillery cannot be overemphasized.
France and Germany quickly adapt to the challenges of modern warfare. Great Britain does not adapt easily and is a non-factor in the first two years of the war.
Gains are measured in miles and are quickly reversed at every major battle. The story of every major battle is one of futility, suffering, and loss for both sides.
Finally, each side will compromise no longer. As they dig in they set the stage for Trench Warfare.
Russia is a mess at the start, but later in the war they get their act together in terms of troops, training, and weaponry.
Despite the nonsensical rumors of France being weak, it is France that holds off the Germans, saps their strength, and destroys their lines late in the war. France (and Germany) paid an incredible price. France was fighting on French soil for the pride of France. They would not give up.
There is an incredible scene on Christmas Eve 1914. The French can hear the Germans singing. The Germans emerge and share chocolates and pastry with the French. The goodwill lasts through the evening. First thing the next morning, the fighting begins anew.
I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different - Kurt Vonnegut