BOOKtalk: a Great War special

This weekend, on a special edition of BBC Parliament's BOOKtalk, I talk to three eminent MPs about books covering the grand strategy of the Great War, the behind-the-scenes battles as Parliament voted to join, and at the very personal politics of the prime minister who took us in.

Image caption Keith Simpson, Gisela Stuart and Sir Ming Campbell talk to Mark D'Arcy

The Labour MP Gisela Stuart - a member of the Commons Defence Committee - the Conservative MP and military historian Keith Simpson and the former Lib Dem leader and foreign affairs specialist, Sir Ming Campbell, discuss the historian Garry Sheffield's Short History of the First World War - where he begins by pinning the blame for the conflict firmly on Germany and Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Then there's Fatal Fortnight: Arthur Ponsonby and the Fight for British Neutrality, which examines almost debate by debate, speech by speech, the Parliamentary resistance to the Asquith government's decision to join the war.

And finally there's the extraordinary wartime diary kept by Margot Asquith, wife of the prime minister - full of fascinating anecdotes about the top political leadership of the era, including Lloyd George, Kitchener and Churchill, and painting a poignant picture of her husband, a fading leader being edged from power.

It includes an agonising moment when the prime minister learns that his son, Raymond, has been killed in action.

It's a great discussion between three sharp politicians; the best studio discussions are the ones where the presenter can sit back and let the guests do all the talking - and this was one of those.

BOOKtalk will be shown on BBC Parliament on Saturday at 8.35pm and on Sunday at 5.35pm.