Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan produced probably the most widely-praised of the many books published in 2014 to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Readable, comprehensive and insightful.

Cambridge professor Christopher Clarke's account of the events of 1914 is regarded as one of the best recent accounts on the subject. Notable for rejecting the notion that Germany was primarily responsible for the war, and arguing instead that Europe collectively blundered into war.

Former journalist turned military historian Max Hastings is highly regarded for his readable and dramatic accounts of military conflict. This account lays blame for war squarely at Germany's door, before getting stuck into a gripping, readable and poignant account of the bloodbath that followed.

Lyn Macdonald has produced a series of books that tell the story of World War One year by year, from the viewpoint of ordinary British and Empire soldiers and civilians. Her superb choice of eyewitness testimony creates powerful, illuminating and deeply-moving narratives. 

German historian Fritz Fischer's book caused shockwaves when it was first published in 1961. It was the first work to assert that Germany WAS principally to blame for the outbreak of war, and shattered the existing consensus that all nations were in some part to blame. Still essential reading for any serious student of the war's origins.

Germany's Aims in the First World War
By Fritz Fischer

One of the best short accounts of the First World War, written by British military historian (and decorated WW2 officer) Sir Michael Howard. Authoritative yet wonderfully succinct. 

Professor Hew Strachan is one of the world's leading experts on the First World War, and his expertise is evident in this single-volume account of the conflict. Strachan is always keen to emphasise the war as a global phenomenon, not simply a war fought in the muddy trenches of the Western Front.

AJP Tayor is best remembered in the UK as the first 'television historian'. Always provocative and original, this work proposes that railway timetables put Europe on an inescapable path to war. An enjoyable and thought-provoking read.