The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century

0670871192

KIRKUS REVIEW

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.