The Great War: Myth and Memory
The First World War, with its mud and the slaughter of the trenches, is often taken as the ultimate example of the futility of war. Generals, safe in their headquarters behind the lines, sent millions of men to their deaths to gain a few hundred yards of ground. Writers, notably Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, provided unforgettable images of the idiocy and tragedy of the war. Yet this vision of the war is at best a partial one, the war only achieving its status as the worst of wars in the last thirty years. At the time, the war aroused emotions of pride and patriotism. Not everyone involved remembered the war only for its miseries. The generals were often highly professional and indeed won the war in 1918. In this original and challenging book, Dan Todman shows views of the war have changed over the last ninety years and how a distorted image of it emerged and became dominant.
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