During the Great War, books and stories for young men were frequently used as unofficial propaganda for recruitment and to sell the war to British youth as a moral crusade. Until now, this literature has been neglected by academics, but the image of the war these fictions created was remarkably enduring and, despite the appearance of post-war literature of disillusioned veterans, continued to shape the attitudes of the young well into the 1930s. This is the first detailed account of how adventure fiction represented the Great War for British boys between 1914 and the end of the war.
Paris examines how such literature explained the causes of the war to boys and girls and how it encouraged young men to participate in the noble crusade on the Western Front and in other theaters. He explores the imagery of the trenches, the war in the air, and the nature of war in the Middle East and Africa. He also details the links between popular writers and the official literary propaganda campaign. The study concludes by looking at how these heroic images remained in print, enduring well into the inter-war years.
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About the Author
MICHAEL PARIS is Professor of Modern History at the University of Central Lancashire and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He specializes in the area of war and popular culture. His most recent book is Warrior Nation: Images of War in British Popular Culture, 1850-2000.