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World War I created the modern world. By ushering in modern techniques of warfare and redrawing the boundaries of Europe, the war forever changed how wars would be fought and how politics would be conducted. In this concise and authoritative history packed with photographs and specially commissioned battle maps, historians Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson bring back to life this worldwide conflict, its horrific toll, and its significant consequences.
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Trevor Wilson is a professor of history at Adelaide University in Australia.From Library Journal:
It is fitting at the close of the 20th century that some thought be given to the initial calamity that set the century upon its destructive course. The First World War by Prior (history, Australian Defense Force Acad.) and Wilson (history, emeritus, Univ. of Adelaide) provides a fine narration of the military course of the war on land (a companion volume in Cassell's "History of Warfare" series will treat the war at sea). It concentrates on the European fronts, East and West, and on the strategy and outcomes of the battles between the major participants. The authors show a decidedly pro-British perspective, giving less-than-equal treatment to French and American contributions to victory. Although there is a good chronology, the battlefield maps contain more detail than needed for such a general narrative. This strictly military history provides some debatable conclusions on the war's genesis and a paean to the justness of the Allied cause. It may be in answer, intended or not, to Niall Ferguson's provocative The Pity of War (LJ 3/15/99) or even John Keegan's stark The First World War (LJ 4/15/99). Roze, a classical literature professor in France, has produced a more thoughtful work in her Fields of Memory. True to its title, it is a testament in words and images to those who suffered and died in the Great War. Its fluid story is extensively illustrated with period photographs as well as recent ones of the French and Belgian countryside, still littered with ruins. Personal narratives of French participants are frequently cited to give life to the dead and help individualize the war experience. It is not scholarly like Jay Winter's Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning (Cambrige Univ., 1995), but it has much more to offer than its coffee-table exterior would lead one to expect. Both books are recommended for public and academic libraries.
-James Tasato Mellone, Hofstra Univ., Hempstead, New York
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