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No one, it seems, was expecting a massive war that, by the end of the year, would kill or wound five million. In the winter of 1914, Britain was preoccupied with the possibility of civil war over home rule in Ireland. Kaiser Wilhem of Germany wanted to boost his naval power but wasn’t keen on fighting. Russian Tsar Nicholas II was celebrating three centuries of his dynasty. Austria-Hungary was concerned about its restive ethnic Serb subjects. But as Hamida Ghafour writes in her panoramic new ebook, The Winter Before the War, decisions made by those rulers and others meant that only a fuse was needed to bring on the First World War. Ghafour, who writes on foreign affairs for the Toronto Star, takes a fascinating and intimate look at the major players — including Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife — and recreates a time not unlike ours. It was an era of globalization, technological breakthroughs and faith in progress, but with simmering hostilities and military expansion in the shadows.
Hamida Ghafour writes on foreign affairs for the Toronto Star. She is author of The Sleeping Buddha: The Story of Afghanistan Through The Eyes of One Family, which was published in five countries and translated into two languages.
She has been a reporter in the Middle East, South Asia and Europe and specializes in the impact of conflict in the Islamic world on its civilians. Hamida has a personal interest in how wars shape and affect nations and their people. Her family fled the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1981. She grew up in Toronto and currently lives in The Netherlands
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