As a scholar of modern European history, Jannen, in his first book, has unscrambled the Gordian knot of diplomatic and political maneuvering and duplicity that led to world war in 1914. He focuses on the fears, errors, and decisions of the Great Powers' statesmen as they desperately tried to avoid a European war, never realizing that their actions would produce what they feared the most. From June 28 to August 12, 1914, the Great Powers sought to avoid a war they knew would bring revolution, the collapse of empires, and the end of European monarchies. They failed, and the ensuing war's slaughter was the result. Jannen's explanation of entangling treaties and alliances, diplomatic ignorance and miscalculation, chauvinism, and pride is exciting and frighteningly real. This book is a perfect companion to Barbara Tuchman's Guns of August (LJ 1/15/62). Highly recommended for schools, libraries, and history buffs.-Col. William D. Bushnell, USMC (ret.), Brunswick, Me.