The Unquiet Western Front: Britain's Role in Literature and History

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Britain's role in the First World War has been portrayed through literature, films and plays with a marked un-historical, anti-war spirit. Deeply-rooted myths have thus become dominant and historians have either endorsed them, or have written narrowly for other specialists. As a result of the opening of official military archives and more objective study, these portrayals are now being challenged. This book traces the controversy from 1918 to the present, concluding that historians are finally permitting World War I to be placed in a more accurate perspective.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The author's insightful views make worthwhile reading for anyone interested in this important subject." Historian

"Bond takes a moderate and judicious approach, dealing fairly and admirably with a wide range of literary, cultural, and historical issues. The book is written with style, and is strongly recommended to all those who would like to know how our views of the Great War have been shaped over the last eighty-five years." International History Review

The First World War has been described as "the prime example of war as horror and futility." Bond (emeritus, history, King's College London) counters this interpretation with the argument that Britain's decision to enter into the war against Germany should be characterized as judicious and that its prosecution of the war was, while "painful and costly," remarkably successful. He locates the most successful development of anti-war "myths" about the British involvement on the Western Front as having originated in the 1960s and surveys some of the perpetuation of the "war as horror" view in 1990s literature and television. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521036412
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 140
  • Sales rank: 1,379,340
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Bond is Emeritus Professor of Military History, King's College London. One of Britain's leading military historians, he has been President of the British Commission for Military History since 1986.
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Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements; 1. The necessary war, 1914–18; 2. Goodbye to all that, 1919–33; 3. Donkeys and Flanders mud: the war rediscovered in the 1960s; 4. Thinking the unthinkable: the first world war as history; Sir Lees Knowles (1857–1928); The Lees Knowles lectures; Notes; Select bibliography; Index.
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