Forrest Gump and Shrouds of Glory established best-selling author Winston Groom as an electrifying writer and narrative historian. Now, in A Storm in Flanders, the Pulitzer Prize nominee visits the bloody four-year-long Battle of Ypres, a pivotal engagement that would forever change the way the world fought -- and thought about -- war. Groom describes how the quaint medieval Belgian town of Flanders -- following the dreams and schemes of the stubborn "butchers and blunderers" who commanded from afar -- became the most dreaded place on earth, a "gigantic corpse factory" where hundreds of thousands of men died for gains that were measured in yards. In 1914, Germany launched an invasion of France through neutral Belgium -- and brought the wrath of the world upon herself. In accessible prose, Groom presents Ypres as the centerpiece of World War I, with all of its horrors, heroism, and terrifying new tactics and technologies. Ypres is where some of history's most hideous weapons were unleashed and refined: poison gas, tanks, mines, air strikes, and the unspeakable misery of trench warfare. The battle's unprecedented horrors inspired some of the most compelling and enduring artistry of the war: from Remarque's classic novel All Quiet on the Western Front to the haunting poem that came to symbolize war, "In Flanders Fields, " composed in the heat of battle by John McCrae, a grieving Canadian surgeon. Ypres was also the battleground of young soldier Adolf Hitler, whose experiences in Flanders, Groom argues, set him on his fateful path. Groom's story comes alive with the heart-wrenching journal entries of the men who fought on the grisly front lines, and is illustrated with breathtakingphotographs published here for the first time. A gripping drama of politics, strategy, and human heart -- of the struggle for survival and victory against all odds -- A Storm in Flanders is a powerful work of military history.
The Great and Holy War offers the first look at how religion created and prolonged the First World War. At the one-hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the war, historian Philip Jenkins reveals the powerful religious dimensions of this modern-day crusade, a period that marked a traumatic crisis for Western civilization, with effects that echoed throughout the rest of the twentieth century.
The war was fought by the world's leading Christian nations, who presented the conflict as a holy war. Thanks to the emergence of modern media, a steady stream of patriotic and militaristic rhetoric was given to an unprecedented audience, using language that spoke of holy war and crusade, of apocalypse and Armageddon. But this rhetoric was not mere state propaganda. Jenkins reveals how the widespread belief in angels and apparitions, visions and the supernatural was a driving force throughout the war and shaped all three of the major religions--Christianity, Judaism and Islam--paving the way for modern views of religion and violence. The disappointed hopes and moral compromises that followed the war also shaped the political climate of the rest of the century, giving rise to such phenomena as Nazism, totalitarianism, and communism.
Connecting numerous remarkable incidents and characters--from Karl Barth to Carl Jung, the Christmas Truce to the Armenian Genocide--Jenkins creates a powerful and persuasive narrative that brings together global politics, history, and spiritual crisis as never before and shows how religion informed and motivated circumstances on all sides of the war.
The definitive account of the Great War and national bestseller from one of our most eminent military historians, John Keegan.The First World War created the modern world. A conflict of unprecedented ferocity, it abruptly ended the relative peace and prosperity of the Victorian era, unleashing such demons of the twentieth century as mechanized warfare and mass death. It also helped to usher in the ideas that have shaped our times--modernism in the arts, new approaches to psychology and medicine, radical thoughts about economics and society--and in so doing shattered the faith in rationalism and liberalism that had prevailed in Europe since the Enlightenment.
The First World War probes the mystery of how a civilization at the height of its achievement could have propelled itself into such a ruinous conflict and takes us behind the scenes of the negotiations among Europe's crowned heads (all of them related to one another by blood) and ministers, and their doomed efforts to defuse the crisis. Keegan reveals how, by an astonishing failure of diplomacy and communication, a bilateral dispute grew to engulf an entire continent. But the heart of Keegan's superb narrative is, of course, his analysis of the military conflict. With unequalled authority and insight, he recreates the nightmarish engagements whose names have become legend--Verdun, the Somme and Gallipoli among them--and sheds new light on the strategies and tactics employed, particularly the contributions of geography and technology. No less central to Keegan's account is the human aspect. He acquaints us with the thoughts of the intriguing personalities who oversaw the tragically unnecessary catastrophe--from heads of state like Russia's hapless tsar, Nicholas II, to renowned warmakers such as Haig, Hindenburg and Joffre. But Keegan reserves his most affecting personal sympathy for those whose individual efforts history has not recorded--"the anonymous millions, indistinguishably drab, undifferentially deprived of any scrap of the glories that by tradition made the life of the man-at-arms tolerable." By the end of the war, three great empires--the Austro-Hungarian, the Russian and the Ottoman--had collapsed. But as Keegan shows, the devastation ex-tended over the entirety of Europe, and still profoundly informs the politics and culture of the continent today. His brilliant, panoramic account of this vast and terrible conflict is destined to take its place among the classics of world history.
In the turmoil of World War I, T.E. Lawrence and a Jewish agronomist from Palestine imagined new nations -Arab and Israeli - rising from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. Their arguments presaged the political battles of the Middle East today.
A study of the British experience in the trenches between 1914 and 1918, of the literature that memorialized, conventionalized, and mythologized that experience, and of the resulting impact on modern consciousness
This is the kind of investigatory history Hochschild pulls off like no one else . . . Hochschild is a master at chronicling how prevailing cultural opinion is formed and, less frequently, how it's challenged. -- Maureen Corrigan, NPR's Fresh AirWorld War I was supposed to be the "war to end all wars." Over four long years, nations around the globe were sucked into the tempest, and millions of men died on the battlefields. To this day, the war stands as one of history's most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation. To End All Wars focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war's critics, alongside its generals and heroes. Many of these dissenters were thrown in jail for their opposition to the war, from a future Nobel Prize winner to an editor behind bars who distributed a clandestine newspaper on toilet paper. These critics were sometimes intimately connected to their enemy hawks: one of Britain's most prominent women pacifist campaigners had a brother who was commander in chief on the Western Front. Two well-known sisters split so bitterly over the war that they ended up publishing newspapers that attacked each other. As Adam Hochschild brings the Great War to life as never before, he forces us to confront the big questions: Why did so many nations get so swept up in the violence? Why couldn't cooler heads prevail? And can we ever avoid repeating history? Hochschild brings fresh drama to the story and explores it in provocative ways . . . Exemplary in all respects. -- Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Superb . . . Brilliantly written and reads like a novel . . . Hochschild] gives us yet another absorbing chronicle of the redeeming power of protest. -- Minneapolis Star Tribune