14-18 Understanding the Great War

Becker, Annette & Stephane Audoin-Rouzeau & Catherine Temerson

Published by Hill and Wang, 2002
ISBN 10: 0809046423 / ISBN 13: 9780809046423
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Synopsis: A bold new assessment of how the violence, racist nationalism, and grief aroused in 1914-18 changed the course of history

To many, the years of the Great War seemed to signal Europe's collective suicide. A century later, the conflict continues to dominate the imagination of the West--not least because it became the matrix from which all subsequent disasters emerged.

The authors of 14-18: Understanding the Great War have set aside the overly familiar scholarly tasks--assigning responsibility for the war, accounting for its battles, assessing its causes--and instead examine three neglected but highly significant aspects of the conflict, each of which changed national and international affairs forever.

First, the war was unprecedented in its physical violence: Why was this so, and what were the effects of tolerating it? Second, each side seemed motivated and exalted by a vehement nationalistic, racist animus against the enemy: How did this "crusade" mentality evolve, and what did it mean for Europe and the world? Third, with its millions of deaths the war created a tidal wave of grief: How could the mourners ever come to terms with the agonizing pain? These are the elements that are vital to understanding the Great War.

With its strikingly original interpretative strength and its wealth of compelling documentary evidence drawn from all sides in the conflict, this innovative work has quickly established itself as a classic in the history of modern warfare.

From the Inside Flap: "The group of researchers at the Historial of the Great War have, with their immense body of work, fundamentally re-ordered our approach to and understanding of the First World War. Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker offer in this book the first synthesis of this research [and] open new perspectives . . . [Their work] proposes a profound break with the historiography of the past . . . and their approach allows us to begin to understand Europe?s collective suicide in 1914, which was for so long incomprehensible."
?Libération

"A passionate work intended to make us reconsider what François Furet called ?one of the most enigmatic events in modern history? . . . Not only an exploration of the past but also a meditation on history, and on those historians who looked at the world of the past through the lens of honesty, in order to give it clarity, sense, and truth."
?Daniel Rondeau, L?Express

"Opens up an often provocative perspective on the Great War . . . Its sometime comparative, anthropological dimension is in itself revolutionary . . . A rich work, grounded both in a concrete understanding of the First World War itself and in a more general consideration of the era of the war."
?Bruno Cabanes, La Quinzaine Littéraire

"A thematic work that includes all the most recent research . . . An important analysis, dense, but with wide chronological and geographical horizons."
?Nicolas Offenstadt, Le Monde

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Bibliographic Details

Title: 14-18 Understanding the Great War
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New
Edition: First American Edition; First Printing.

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