World War I

Edith Cavell: “Patriotism Is Not Enough”

September 16, 2014

Not all the heroes of the First World War fought in the trenches. Forty-nine year old British nurse Edith Cavell was the director of the first nurses’ training school in Belgium. When Germany occupied Brussels in the first month of the war, Cavell refused to leave. She turned her clinic into a Red Cross hospital […]

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Before Rosie the Riveter…

August 19, 2014

A generation before Rosie the Riveter, munitionettes “manned”* Britain’s factories and mines, replacing the men who volunteered for General Kitchener’s New Army in 1914 and 1915. Women were initially greeted in the work force with hostility. Male trade unionists argued that the employment of women, who earned roughly half the salary of the men they […]

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Whose Remembrance?

August 16, 2014

A few statistics from the Imperial War Museum in London make it clear that the First World War was a global war in more than one sense: Roughly 1.5 million soldiers from British India served in the war; 80,000 lost their lives. Many of them fought in the trenches on the Western Front–if you don’t […]

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A Few WWI Books From the History in the Margins Archives

August 7, 2014

Just in case you missed them the first time around: In The Lost History of 1914, NPR’s Jack Beatty takes on what he describes as the “cult of inevitability” surrounding the beginning of  the war. NPR’s Jack Beatty takes on what he describes as the “cult of inevitability” that surrounds historical accounts of the First […]

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Some Old Favorites About World War I

July 22, 2014

Recently I shared some of the most interesting new books about World War I that have landed in my mailbox.* Wonderful though many of the new books are, it would be a shame to forget the many excellent older books available. Here are some of my favorites: Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory […]

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Why Sarajevo?

June 28, 2014

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that today is the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife at Sarajevo–the long-tailed and tangled fuse that began World War I. And I’m not going to go through the details of the assassination itself–though it would be a nail-biting thriller, […]

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Drowning In Books About World War I

June 25, 2014

It is a truth universally acknowledged (at least in the circles I hang out in) that major historical anniversaries are celebrated not only with documentaries, blog posts and re-enactments, but with the publication of Big Fat History Books. It makes perfect sense from the point of view of writer and publishing house: the centennial of […]

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In Which I Give Away A Copy of Nick Lloyd’s Hundred Days

June 19, 2014

As those of you who hang out in history-land know, the centennial of World War I is just around the corner. So far I’ve resisted the temptation to add to the flow of WWI-related blog posts, tweets, and images.* But the pile of books to review and the list of things I want to talk […]

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Flappers

January 24, 2014

The flapper of the 1920s took on a mythological character almost from the moment of her birth. With her short hair, short skirts and short attention span, she seemed like a new and unsettling breed of woman, one more aftermath of the First World War. In Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation, Judith Mackrell […]

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On War, Part 2

November 26, 2013

After last Friday’s post about the Pritzker Military Library’s symposium, On War, I got a challenging e-mail from a reader, asking me for the titles of definitive histories for World War I, World War II and Vietnam.* My first response was “danged if I know.” My second response was doubt that there is a definitive […]

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