Fighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory, and the First World War in Britain

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Janet Watson's study of war and memory uses published and unpublished British wartime and retrospective writings concerning World War I. Watson examines differing attitudes to this war among men and women, across different social classes, and in different periods. She concludes that participants often saw their experience - lived and remembered- as either work or service. In fact, far from having a united front, many active participants were 'fighting different wars', and this process only continued in the decades following peace.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a useful and thought-provoking book. Undergraduates of history and literature should be encouraged to read it both for the light it sheds on the British experience of the First World War and for the way it illustrates the contrast between strictly contemporary evidence and primary sources molded by the retrospection of just a few years. Historians should welcome it for highlighting how perceptions of the war came to be dominated by stories of disillusionment and futility."
Gervase Phillips, Manchester Metropolitan University, H-War

"Janet Watson has crafted a heavily researched [and] concisely written scholarly book."

"Compelling... a fresh look at the subject of war and memory and should be read by anyone interested in Britain during and after the First World War."
Journal of British Studies

"...a major addition to the literature on World War I..."
American Historical Review

"One of the best and most important books on the cultural history of Britain's 'Great War' yet produced... an extremely fine book."

"Watson's book examining the impact of war on British women fills a definite gap in our knowledge of the conflict...Watson's study is highly interesting thanks to her constant awareness of the diversity of conditions and factors influencing the way a person experienced the war." Journal of Modern History Mark Connelly, University of Kent

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Janet Watson is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction: experience, memory and the Great War; Part I. Experience and the War: 1. Soldiers and 'khaki girls': men and women in military and paramilitary organisations; 2. The healing of her men: amateur and professional hospital workers; 3. Other armies: auxiliary war workers; 4. A family at war: the Beales of Standen; Part II. Memory and the War: 5. The soldier's story: publishing and the postwar years; 6. Creating disillusionment in popular memory; 7. Still fighting: memory enters history; Conclusion: climbing out of the trenches; Select bibliography; Index.

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