Gavrilo Princip – The Assassin Who Started The First World War (Paperback)

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 2 customer ratings
(2 customer reviews)


On 28th June 1914, the Bosnian student Gavrilo Princip shot dead the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Austria blamed Serbia for the attack, and the First World War followed. Find out more about the attentat of the century, its consequences, and its continuing relevance in the first English biography to be published.


Who was Gavrilo Princip, why did he open fire, and what was his connexion to the Black Hand?

What role was played by the director of Serbian military intelligence, Colonel Apis? What did Apis hope to achieve by the assassination, and why did the Serbian government disapprove?

Protecting the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on their visit to Sarajevo in June 1914 should have been a relatively simple affair. Why did the assassination succeed, and who was to blame for this extraordinary failure in security?

The shooting of an obscure Archduke in an even more obscure corner of the Balkans – in fact, the capital of a remote province that had only recently become part of the Austro-Hungarian empire – led to world war, the death of millions, and the destruction of four empires. Why; and how is this murder still relevant to-day?

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2 reviews for Gavrilo Princip – The Assassin Who Started The First World War (Paperback)

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    medropedro (verified owner)

    Absolutely first class! I had been waiting for an English language biography and here it is – everything you ever wanted to know about events leading up to and surrounding the assassination of Franz Ferdinand on that fateful day in 1914. Equally suited to inquisitive minds, historians and educational requirements. Thank you.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    sally manning

    This is an intriguing book written by a former soldier, with experience both of Northern Ireland and of the Police Force. The author’s fascination with the psychological reasons behind crime makes him approach the subject from an alternative viewpoint.
    Before he tells us the story of ‘Gavrilo Princip’ the assassin of ‘the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand ’, Villiers analyses the geographical and historical situation of the surrounding empires that cradle The Balkan Countries. We learn about The Roman, The Ottoman, The Hapsburg, The Russian, and The Prussian Empires that give us the logical derivations of the religions and political persuasions of the individual Balkan countries. With humorous anecdotes we gradually understand and sympathise with the dilemmas of the leaders and the frustrations of the peoples.
    This brings us up to 1914 and the next step is a description of the individuals behind the assassination. Their organisation was conceived by an underground movement in Serbia called ‘The Black Hand’ and masterminded by Col. Apis. Serbia was a country whose ethnic brotherhood was tied with Bosnia by means of cells and secrecy. Gavrilo a humble Bosnian boy who, fired with anger and nationalism, joined a band of terrorists in Sarajevo.
    A comparative description of the leaders of The Austrian-Hungarian Empire brings the whole scene to life. We are taken through the plot and fatal day and its outcome for the terrorists. Finally Villiers gives an overview of the situation and outcome of World War 1.
    The book is enlivened by Fiona Balfour’s moving illustrations. What is missing however is a map.
    This book is a must for people who know the subject and want to learn more or for those like me who don’t know the subject and want to understand. I feel inspired to visit the area and read more about such a consuming subject. I recommend this book highly.

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