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Jay Winter's powerful 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. Dr. Winter looks anew at the culture of commemoration and the ways in which communities endeavored to find collective solace after 1918. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning is a profound and moving book of great importance for the attempt to understand the course of European history during the first half of the twentieth century.
Introduction; Part I. Catastrophe and Consolation: 1. Homecomings: the return of the dead; 2. Communities in mourning; 3. Spiritualism and the 'Lost Generation'; 4. War memorials and the mourning process; Part II. Cultural Codes and Languages of Mourning: 5. Mythologies of war: films, popular religion, and the business of the sacred; 6. The apocalyptic imagination in art: from anticipation to allegory; 7. The apocalyptic imagination in war literature; 8. War poetry, romanticism, and the return of the sacred; 9. Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
Posted August 25, 2005
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 HarpWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.