A Higher Form of Killing: Six Weeks in World War 1 that forever changed the nature of warfare


A Higher Form of Killing
Six Weeks in World War 1 that forever changed the nature of warfare
By Diana Preston

Published by Bloomsbury  www.bloomsbury.com
RRP $32.99 in hardback
ISBN 9781620402122

By the standards of my review shelf, this book hasn’t been on it long enough to gather dust and yet I’m happy to tell you, if you are interested in buying it, that the book can be bought on Bloomsbury’s local website marked down to $17.15, a 48% saving. (I’ll trust their maths.)

Author Diana Preston has received very good reviews for this book. I’m wondering if her earlier book about the sinking of the Lusitania was the catalyst for this later work where she chronicles the very beginning of the use of weapons of mass destruction.

In six weeks during April and May 1915, as World War I escalated, Germany forever altered the way war would be fought. On April 22, at Ypres, German canisters spewed poison gas at French and Canadian soldiers in their trenches; on May 7, the German submarine U-20, without warning, torpedoed the passenger liner Lusitania, killing 1,198 civilians; and on May 31, a German Zeppelin began the first aerial bombardment of London and its inhabitants. Each of these actions violated rules of war carefully agreed at the Hague Conventions of 1898 and 1907. Though Germany’s attempts to quickly win the war failed, the psychological damage caused by these attacks far outweighed the casualties.

It has been said that the European leaders spoiling for war in 1914 did not envisage what war would become. In this book, Diana Preston catalogues the birth of weapons of mass destruction and what war became as a result.

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