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Evidence, History and the Great War
Historians and the Impact of 1914-18
Edited by Gail Braybon
256 pages, 10 illus., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-724-2 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (November 2003)
ISBN 978-1-57181-801-0 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (December 2004)
eISBN 978-1-78238-183-9 eBook
“…a series of ten stimulating essays on differing aspects of World War One, loosely, but not exclusively, linked around the theme of the role played by women. As such it is an important collection, which has already gone into a second printing. While some of the essays sum up the current state of play after decades of historical controversy, others are pioneering ventures, opening up new areas for further research. As the editor says quite accurately in her introduction (p. 8): ‘the essays in this book bring something fresh to debates about the war’.”
"…the student of the Great War and gender is well served, and Braybon’s introduction provides an excellent overview of the various historiographical themes, whilst her footnotes provide a useful guide to further reading."
"Readers will not be disappointed by this scholarly, yet accessible, collection of essays."
Centre for First World War Studies
In the English-speaking world the Great War maintains a tenacious grip on the public imagination, and also continues to draw historians to an event which has been interpreted variously as a symbol of modernity, the midwife to the twentieth century and an agent of social change. Although much 'common knowledge' about the war and its aftermath has included myth, simplification and generalisation, this has often been accepted uncritically by popular and academic writers alike.
While Britain may have suffered a surfeit of war books, many telling much the same story, there is far less written about the impact of the Great War in other combatant nations. Its history was long suppressed in both fascist Italy and the communist Soviet Union: only recently have historians of Russia begun to examine a conflict which killed, maimed and displaced so many millions. Even in France and Germany the experience of 1914-18 has often been overshadowed by the Second World War.
The war's social history is now ripe for reassessment and revision. The essays in this volume incorporate a European perspective, engage with the historiography of the war, and consider how the primary textural, oral and pictorial evidence has been used - or abused. Subjects include the politics of shellshock, the impact of war on women, the plight of refugees, food distribution in Berlin and portrait photography, all of which illuminate key debates in war history.
Gail Braybon (1952-2008) was an independent historian. She was the author of Women Workers in the First World War and also wrote, with Penny Summerfield, Out of the Cage: Women's Experiences in Two World Wars.
Subject: History: World War I
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