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The Politics of the First World War
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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Introduction: the Great War; 2. The theory of War I: commitment problems; 3. Armed continent: the Anglo-German naval race; 4. Leaping into the dark: Europe goes to war; 5. The theory of World War II: information problems; 6. A scrap of paper: Belgium, France, and British entry; 7. Troubled partnerships: coalitions at war; 8. The best laid plans: attrition's static horror; 9. Choosing sides: building military coalitions; 10. Coordinating caution: naval war in the North Sea; 11. The theory of World War III: commitment and war termination; 12. The theory of World War IV: information and war termination; 13. Too proud to fight?: U-boats and American neutrality; 14. The end of the beginning: victory, defeat, and peace; 15. Conclusion: history and the present; Bibliography; Index.

Promotional Information

This analytical history of World War I offers a rigorous yet accessible training in game theory, and a survey of modern political science research.

About the Author

Scott Wolford is Associate Professor at the University of Texas, Austin. He published his first book, The Politics of Military Coalitions (Cambridge) in 2015, and has published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, International Organization, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, and International Studies Quarterly, among others. He is a fellow of the Frank C. Irwin Chair in Government (2011-18), a recipient of the Best Paper in International Relations Award from the Midwest Political Science Association (2009), and a former Associate Editor for International Studies Quarterly.

Reviews

'The Politics of the First World War uses game theory to resolve some enduring puzzles of the Great War, while simultaneously using the history of the war to teach game theory and to illuminate ongoing debates about international security. Wolford's unique analytic synthesis greatly enhances our understanding and teaching of the theory and history of conflict.' Jack S. Levy, Rutgers University, New Jersey
'The Politics of the First World War offers a creative approach to learning about international relations. It provides a clear and accessible introduction to game theory and international relations theory. The book's rich history of World War I underscores that game theory can help us understand one of the most consequential events of the twentieth century.' Matthew Fuhrmann, Texas A & M University
'Scott Wolford has written an accessible and engaging introduction to game theory. Set against the backdrop of World War I, the book explains what game theory is, how it works, and how it can help us understand important puzzles in international relations - and even manages to teach some history along the way. The chapters build technical knowledge gradually as the Great War unfolds, rages, and then ends 'in a whimper'. The Politics of the First World War: A Course in Game Theory and International Security will be a very useful teaching tool for undergraduate and introductory graduate courses.' Katja B. Kleinberg, State University of New York, Binghamton
'What a fabulous book Scott Wolford has written! While there are many competing textbooks to introduce students to international relations, there was no textbook for follow-up classes. There now is. Scott Wolford has written an engrossing and compelling book that masterfully weaves the events and puzzles of the First World War with a rigorous introduction to game theory. This is a fantastic idea and he pulls it off wonderfully. Students see the interaction and exchange between history and theory-building close up, in a way that makes both exciting. This book will change how students learn and how professors teach. I will make it the core of my own intermediate class.' Henk Goemans, University of Rochester
'Scott Wolford uses an innovative puzzle-based pedagogy, and cutting-edge analytical tools, to introduce modern theories of international relations and security through the historical lens of World War I. His 'real-time' approach to teaching how leaders make decisions is simply the best I've seen, perfect for developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills in readers.' Toby J. Rider, Texas Tech University
'A masterful yet accessible study in game theory and history that will be invaluable for undergraduate and graduate students. Truly one of a kind.' Amy Yuen, Middlebury College, Vermont
'This is a superb book, a refreshing introduction to game theory, and an enlightening analysis of complex episodes in the unfolding of the First World War. A real tour de force.' Alexandre Debs, Yale University, Connecticut
'The Politics of the First World War uses game theory to resolve some enduring puzzles of the Great War, while simultaneously using the history of the war to teach game theory and to illuminate ongoing debates about international security. Wolford's unique analytic synthesis greatly enhances our understanding and teaching of the theory and history of conflict.' Jack S. Levy, Rutgers University, New Jersey
'The Politics of the First World War offers a creative approach to learning about international relations. It provides a clear and accessible introduction to game theory and international relations theory. The book's rich history of World War I underscores that game theory can help us understand one of the most consequential events of the twentieth century.' Matthew Fuhrmann, Texas A & M University
'Scott Wolford has written an accessible and engaging introduction to game theory. Set against the backdrop of World War I, the book explains what game theory is, how it works, and how it can help us understand important puzzles in international relations - and even manages to teach some history along the way. The chapters build technical knowledge gradually as the Great War unfolds, rages, and then ends 'in a whimper'. The Politics of the First World War: A Course in Game Theory and International Security will be a very useful teaching tool for undergraduate and introductory graduate courses.' Katja B. Kleinberg, State University of New York, Binghamton
'What a fabulous book Scott Wolford has written! While there are many competing textbooks to introduce students to international relations, there was no textbook for follow-up classes. There now is. Scott Wolford has written an engrossing and compelling book that masterfully weaves the events and puzzles of the First World War with a rigorous introduction to game theory. This is a fantastic idea and he pulls it off wonderfully. Students see the interaction and exchange between history and theory-building close up, in a way that makes both exciting. This book will change how students learn and how professors teach. I will make it the core of my own intermediate class.' Henk Goemans, University of Rochester
'Scott Wolford uses an innovative puzzle-based pedagogy, and cutting-edge analytical tools, to introduce modern theories of international relations and security through the historical lens of World War I. His 'real-time' approach to teaching how leaders make decisions is simply the best I've seen, perfect for developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills in readers.' Toby J. Rider, Texas Tech University
'A masterful yet accessible study in game theory and history that will be invaluable for undergraduate and graduate students. Truly one of a kind.' Amy Yuen, Middlebury College, Vermont
'This is a superb book, a refreshing introduction to game theory, and an enlightening analysis of complex episodes in the unfolding of the First World War. A real tour de force.' Alexandre Debs, Yale University, Connecticut

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