The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century

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9780670871193: The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century
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Interweaves cultural history with the military history of the war to show how World War I changed the modern world

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From Publishers Weekly:

Though a companion to a PBS documentary, this powerful volume offers far more than a montage of sound bites. Winter, a Cambridge historian and among the best active scholars of the subject, here writing with Blaine, the show's executive producer, interprets WWI as a cultural phenomenon that shifted boundaries between public and private spheres, blurred distinctions between military and civilian and established new paradigms for issues of race, gender, class and empire. The text makes these points by telling the war's story from the perspective of its participants at all levels, whenever possible in their own words. This personalization is no less effective for reflecting the demands of TV viewers for instant empathy. The 300 illustrations and seven maps here brilliantly complement the prose. No one seeing the photo of a horse carcass blown into a tree will ever again question either the war's contributions to surrealism or its challenge to rationality. And no one can regard the photo of "the man with a broken face" without realizing the matter-of-fact obscenity of all war. There are some errors of fact: German reserve units in 1914 were not, for example, concentrated in Lorraine; the British army had no Duke of York's Light Infantry in its order of battle. And some judgments are too neat: generals and statesmen weren't quite the blinkered blockheads depicted in this populist account. Nevertheless, this book stands independently of its TV counterpart as a learned and literate introduction to the event that defined a century.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

This companion volume to a PBS documentary series (to air in November) offers a cultural as well as a military portrait of the war that, the authors say, set the scene for events that would play out through the rest of the 20th century. So, in addition to battles, Cambridge historian Winter and series producer Baggett draw on diaries, letters, and other documents to paint a human- scale picture of the Great War. Photos portray the effects on the home front, from women working in a British airplane factory to French war orphans. More horrifying images include the bloodied coat of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination kindled the conflagration of war; a corpse-strewn field after the Battle of the Marne; and rows of Armenian corpses--evidence of the Turkish genocide. The accompanying text ranges from the concept of ``total war,'' or war without restraint, to the hard-sell recruitment tactics employed in England as the war ground on. The images are of varying quality, and their reproduction is less than ideal, but collectively, they relate a terrible story whose aftermath remains with us eight decades later. (Penguin; $39.95; Nov. 11; 432 pages; ISBN 0-670-87119-2) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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