Jay Winter's powerful new study of the collective remembrance of the Great War offers a major reassessment of one of the critical episodes in the cultural history of the twentieth century. Using a great variety of literary, artistic, and architectural evidence, Dr. Winter looks anew at the culture of commemoration, and the ways in which communities endeavoured to find collective solace after 1918. Taking issue with the prevailing 'Modernist' interpretation of the European reaction to the appalling events of 1914-1918, Dr. Winter instead argues that what characterized that reaction was, rather, the attempt to interpret the Great War within traditional frames of reference. Tensions arose, inevitably.
'No one interested in the broad impact of the First World War, or the cultural history of the twentieth century, can afford to neglect this book.' The Times Literary Supplement
'One seldom puts down a work of history with such a feeling of having penetrated to the bedrock of emotions that inspired a time that now seems very far away, very different, and very past.' The Journal of Modern History
There are many reasons why World War I has been labeled THE GREAT WAR: it was the war to end all wars in the minds of those who lived through it, who were directly and indirectly affected by it, who continue to reference it as the war with the most emotional cost. In times when wars seems to constantly queue since that inception of world war, wars spreading from WW II, through Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Spain, Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, South America and on, taking a long hard look at the Great War will hopefully center our attention on a past time that can be analyzed and from which we can hopefully learn. Now that Jay Winters' brilliant book 'Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning : The Great War in European Cultural History' is available/affordable in paperback, every household should have a copy as children grow into the years of this century. Winters' examination of the devastation of WW I and the ways in which it informed all of the arts, the architecture, the literature, films, memorials - the people of the globe - is a mighty assignment and he is more than successful in humanizing his message. This book overflows with photographs of places, faces, bodies alive and dead, paintings, sculptures, film stills - each of which drives home Winters' powerful message. Sad though it may be to admit, war is a part of life on this abused planet: the more we study it the more we hopefully will reduce it. Winters wants to make sure that we remember, that we read, view, walk through, see, hear, and listen to the remnants the Great War left behind. This is a powerful, necessary book and should be required reading and viewing for us all. Highly recommended. Grady Harp
Was this review helpful? YesNoThank you for your feedback.Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.