'Thundering, magnificent... a book of true greatness that prompts moments of sheer joy and pleasure... It will earn generations of admirers.' (The Washington Times) 'Meyer's sketches of the British Cabinet, the Russian Empire, the aging Austro-Hungarian Empire . . . are lifelike and plausible. His account of the tragic folly of Gallipoli is masterful... [Into the Abyss] has an instructive value that can scarcely be measured.' (Los Angeles Times) Drawing on exhaustive research, this remarkable, intimate account tells the story of how, in its first two years, World War I reduced Europe's mightiest empires to rubble, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today. On a summer day in 1914, a nineteen-year-old Serbian nationalist gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. In less than a month, a combination of ambition, deceit, fear, jealousy, missed opportunities, and miscalculation sent Austro-Hungarian troops marching into Serbia, German troops streaming toward Paris, and a vast Russian army into war, with England as its ally. No one could guess what lay ahead in the First World War: years of slaughter, physical and moral exhaustion, and the near collapse of a civilization that until 1914 had dominated the globe.