The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age

The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age

by Juliet Nicolson
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The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
Juliet Nicholson has that rare ability to recreate an historic period, making it so real that we feel as though we are living it. The theme of this perfectly written book is the effect that World War I had on England, more specifically the silence that fell over this island nation after the destruction of a huge majority of the men of England. But it is far more than the agony of dealing with the deaths of almost a million young men and older soldiers. This is a book about survival and how England coped with attempting to find a plane of recovery. Nicholson's writing is filled with references to speeches and poems and writings that dealt with the sorrow: 'This book aims to discover what happened to that peaceful pre-war society after the intervening gash of war years and the death or injury of more than two and a half million men. How had society changed and how were people adapting or failing to adapt to that change. In 1920 the journalist Philip Gibbs wrote of "fits of profound depression alternating with a restless desire for pleasure" I want to know what kind of sound was made by the hinge that linked those two sensibilities.' What follows is a careful examination of people's responses to the devastation economically, physically, psychologically, and spiritually to that time, a time not unlike a post-apocalyptic period when death had become so common a concept that many of the populace embraced the wildness of the Roaring 20s that stepped across the Atlantic from the United States to escape its dominion. How does a country bereft of men find the continuation of family and reproduction of children? The Suffragettes moved into power in all forms of the country's business because of the need to fill the gaping holes left from the loss of manpower. Nicholson documents specific items and periods and movements that resulted from the aftermath of the Great War and even provides photographs of the ruins that stained the lives of all the inhabitants of England. 'Fighting and death had only been a part of it. The delayed response to sights and sounds, the mutilation, the hammering of guns experienced by those returning was just beginning. Would any of them recover? Would any of them find a lasting peace? Would a healing silence ever come to them, as they lay awake at night, trying to forget? This is a book about the pause that followed the cataclysm; the interval between the falling silent of the guns and the roaring of the 1920s.' Nicholson has the gift to make reportage into a novel. Her chapters are name Shock, Denial, Hopelessness, Dreaming, Surviving, Hope, Acceptance: 11 November 1920 etc - and in separating the various realms of response of the nation she offers us individual reports as well as surveys of groups of people and classes and how England was forever changed. It is a beautifully written document, one that carries far more power than most books about that period, and one that is especially potent at this time when we are all so surrounded by wars around the globe. A powerful and informative book. Grady Harp
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izzieJL More than 1 year ago
I am into reading about this time in history so this was very good for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The subject matter for this book was a great idea. I have read a lot about the First World War but not much has been written about the time immediately following the war. When the author writes about the working class and returning solders it's a good read. When the author writes about the upper classes I became disinterested. I really don't care that Lord so and so had to sell one of his estates or the problems of finding good domestic help.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago