To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

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World War I stands as one of history's most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation. In a riveting, suspenseful narrative with haunting echoes for our own time, Adam Hochschild brings it to life as never before. He focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war's critics, alongside its generals and heroes. Thrown in jail for their opposition to the war were Britain's leading investigative journalist, a future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and an editor who, behind bars, published a newspaper for his fellow inmates on toilet paper. These critics were sometimes intimately connected to their enemy hawks: one of Britain's most prominent women pacifist campaigners had a brother who was commander in chief on the Western Front. Two well-known sisters split so bitterly over the war that they ended up publishing newspapers that attacked each other.

Today, hundreds of military cemeteries spread across the fields of northern France and Belgium contain the bodies of millions of men who died in the "war to end all wars." Can we ever avoid repeating history?

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HMH hardcover, 2011Previous ISBN 978-0-547-19561-2

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"This is the kind of investigatory history Hochschild pulls off like no one else . . . Hochschild is a master at chronicling how prevailing cultural opinion is formed and, less frequently, how it's challenged." — Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

World War I was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” Over four long years, nations around the globe were sucked into the tempest, and millions of men died on the battlefields. To this day, the war stands as one of history’s most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation.

To End All Wars focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war’s critics, alongside its generals and heroes. Many of these dissenters were thrown in jail for their opposition to the war, from a future Nobel Prize winner to an editor behind bars who distributed a clandestine newspaper on toilet paper. These critics were sometimes intimately connected to their enemy hawks: one of Britain’s most prominent women pacifist campaigners had a brother who was commander in chief on the Western Front. Two well-known sisters split so bitterly over the war that they ended up publishing newspapers that attacked each other.

As Adam Hochschild brings the Great War to life as never before, he forces us to confront the big questions: Why did so many nations get so swept up in the violence? Why couldn’t cooler heads prevail? And can we ever avoid repeating history?

"Hochschild brings fresh drama to the story and explores it in provocative ways . . . Exemplary in all respects." — Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

"Superb . . . Brilliantly written and reads like a novel . . . [Hochschild] gives us yet another absorbing chronicle of the redeeming power of protest." — Minneapolis Star Tribune

ADAM HOCHSCHILD has won a reputation as a master of suspense and vivid character portrayal with King Leopold’s Ghost, Bury the Chains, and other books. His skill at evoking individual struggles for justice amid the sweep of historic events has made him a finalist for the National Book Award and won him a host of other prizes.

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