Annotated Bibliography: Non-Fiction
Arthur, Max. Forgotten Voices of the Great War: A History of World War I in the Words of the Men and Women Who Were There (The Lyons Press, 2004).
Forgotten Voices of the Great War is the fruit of a project of the British Imperial War Museum begun in 1972 to tape-record the accounts of soldiers of all the armies involved in The Great War.
Banks, Arthur. A Military Atlas of the First World War (Pen and Sword Books, 2002).
Arthur Banks' classic map study of World War I is now being issued for the first time in paperback, at a time when interest in the Great War is very much on the increase. Banks' 250 maps present both broad general surveys of political and military strategy and closely detailed treatments of individual campaigns and engagements. These are supplemented by comprehensive analyses of military strengths and command structures and illustrations of important guns, tanks, ships, airplanes and personal weapons. Introductions to each major stage of the war on the Eastern and Western fronts, the colonial campaigns, and the air and naval war have been written by the distinguished military historian Alan Palmer.
In preparing this definitive atlas, Arthur Banks has drawn on an enormous range and variety of original sources, including the official histories of all the major powers. The result is not only a compendium of existing research on the First World War; the book corrects many long established errors and misconceptions. (Editorial Review—Amazon)
Cardinal, Agnes, Dorthy Goldman and Judith Hattaway. Women's Writing on the First World War (Clarendon Press, 1999).
The First World War inspired a huge outpouring of writing, including many classic accounts of the horrors of the trenches, written by men. What has been less visible until now is the Wars impact upon women writers, whose experience was often very different from that of their male counterparts. This anthology brings together women's writing from across the world, covering every genre of writing about the War from the period 1914 to 1930. Letters, diary entries, reportage, and essays, as well as polemical texts in favor of, or in opposition to, the hostilities, offer an interesting counterpoint to the novels and short stories through which women sought to encompass the extremes of wartime life as they saw it. This anthology demonstrates how the Great War acted as a catalyst for women writers, enabling them to find a public voice and to assert their own attitude to social and moral issues. (Book Announcement)
Cowley, Robert. The Great War: Perspectives on the First World War (Random House, 2003).
Robert Cowley has brought together 30 articles to examine this unnecessary but perhaps inevitable war in its diverse aspects. A number of the subjects covered here are not just unfamiliar but totally fresh. Who originated the term “no-man’s-land” and the word “tank”? What forgotten battles nearly destroyed the French Army in 1915? How did the discovery of a German naval codebook bring the United States into the war? What was the weapon that, for the first time, put a man-made object into the stratosphere?
The Great War takes a hard look at the legend of the “Massacre of the Innocents” at Ypres in 1914—an event that became a cornerstone of Nazi mythology. It describes the Gallipoli campaign as it has never been described before—from the Turkish side. Brought to life as well are the horrors of naval warfare, as both British and German sailors experienced them at the Battle of Jutland; the near breakdown of the American commander, John H. Pershing; and the rarely told story of the British disaster on the Tigris River in what is now Iraq.
Ellis, John. Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I. (Johns Hopkins University Press, reprint edition, 1989).
Ellis begins by describing the physical construction of the trenches, their size and shape, their peculiarities and characteristics. He succinctly portrays the soldiers’ daily life: how they ate, drank, slept, joked, fought off lice and rats, how their sexual needs were met, and how they endured marches and patrols. In analyzing how the habits and regulations so dear to the military mind become entrenched in the organization of the battlefield, Eye-Deep in Hell brilliantly depicts the instinctive desire of men in battle to create order out of chaos. In the soldiers’ personal reflections and letters home, Ellis discovers a literature of compassion and courage, and a capacity to endure the world where men fought, for reasons they hardly understood, for a future that most had ceased to believe in.
Fleming, Thomas. The Illusion of Victory (Basic Books, 2004).
In this sweeping historical canvas, Thomas Fleming undertakes nothing less than a drastic revision of our experience in World War I. He reveals how the British and French duped Wilson into thinking the war was as good as won, and there would be no need to send an army overseas. He describes a harried president making speech after speech proclaiming America's ideals while supporting espionage and sedition acts that sent critics to federal prisons. And he gives a harrowing account of how the Allies did their utmost to turn the American Expeditionary Force into cannon fodder on the Western Front.
Fromkin, David. Europe's Last Summer : Who Started the Great War in 1914? (Knopf, 2004).
Fromkin's answer to the question posed in his subtitle is succinct: Helmuth von Moltke, imperial Germany's army chief in 1914. In his clearly delineated argument, Fromkin addresses alternative theories about the cause of World War I, but he returns to the decision chain of a small number of officials in Berlin and Vienna. Their destruction of key evidence hampers the precise reconstruction of their actions as does, Fromkin maintains, historians' confusion about what the Germans were licensing in agreeing to whatever chastisement Vienna decided to deliver upon Serbia, on the pretext of avenging the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In contrast to theorists of rigid alliances, to whom the notorious "blank check" initiated events almost beyond human control, Fromkin arraigns the actions of Moltke and his colleagues, especially in late July 1914, when the procrastinating Austrians had yet to crush Serbia in war, as Moltke expected. Hijacking the bollixed-up situation, he overrode Kaiser Wilhelm II's resistance, Fromkin concludes, to a deliberate instigation of a second war against Russia and France. The boldness of Fromkin's argument is enough to warrant attention, but his fluidity of expression guarantees a large audience for this book. Gilbert Taylor
Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory. (Oxford University Press, 25th anniversary edition, 2000).
Fussell's landmark study of WWI remains as original and gripping today as ever before: a literate, literary, and illuminating account of the Great War, the one that changed a generation, ushered in the modern era, and revolutionized how we see the world. Exploring the work of Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Edmund Blunden, David Jones, Isaac Rosenberg, and Wilfred Owen, Fussell supplies contexts, both actual and literary, for those writers who most effectively memorialized WWI as an historical experience with conspicuous imaginative and artistic meaning. For this special edition, the author has prepared a new introduction and afterword.
Horne, Alistair. The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916. (Penguin, reissue edition, 1993).
The battle of Verdun lasted ten months. It was a battle in which at least 700,000 fell, along a 15-mile front; the battle whose aim was less to defeat the enemy than to bleed him to death; the battle whose once fertile terrain even now resembles a haunted wilderness, battered and crumbling. This book is more than a chronicle of the battle. It is a profoundly moving, sympathetic study of the men who fought there, and it shows that Verdun is the key to understanding the First World War—a key to the minds that waged it, to the traditions that bound them, and to the world that created them.
Keegan, John. An Illustrated History of the First World War (Knopf, 2001).
John Keegan's The First World War was everywhere praised, and became the definitive account of the war that created the modern world. The New York Times Book Review acclaimed Keegan as "the best military historian of our day," and the Washington Post called the book "a grand narrative history [and] a pleasure to read."
Now Keegan gives us a lavishly illustrated history of the war, brilliantly interweaving his narrative--some of it derived from his classic work and some of it new--with a brilliant selection of photographs, paintings, cartoons and posters drawn from archives across Europe and America, some published here for the first time. These images take us into the heart of battles that have become legend: Ypres, Gallipoli, Verdun, The Somme. They show us the generals' war and the privates' war--young soldiers, away from home for the first time, coming of age under fire.
MacDonald, Lyn. To the Last Man: Spring 1918. (Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2001).
As poignant as Niall Fergusson's The Pity of War, as powerful as John Keegan's The First World War, this is an engrossing eye-witness history of World War I. From the trenches to the battle lines, in bold advances and fighting retreats and courageous stands, this oral chronicle of World War I by award-winning historian Lyn Macdonald brings to life the massive German offensive of Spring 1918 that became the Second Battle of Somme. As moving as it is monumental, the volume recounts the devastating assault in the words of the men who survived it-from the commanders to the war-weary British Tommies, the eager German foot soldiers, and the as-yet-untested doughboys fresh from the U.S. Unforgettably, To the Last Man puts a human face on the armies in the field as it gives voice to the soldiers who together held their position against the foe, resisting, as the Allied command had ordered, "to the last round and the last man."
Marshall, S. L. A. World War I (Mariner Books, 2001).
A "full-dress history of the war by one of our most distinguished military writers" (New York Times), World War I takes us from the first shots in Sarajevo to the signing of the peace treaty in Versailles and through every bunker, foxhole, and minefield in between. General S.L.A. Marshall drew on his unique firsthand experience as a soldier and a lifetime of military service to pen this forthright, forward-thinking history of what people once believed would be the last great war. Newly introduced by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, David M. Kennedy, World War I is a classic example of unflinching military history that is certain to inform, enrich, and deepen our understanding of this great cataclysm.
Nelson, James Carl. The Remains of Company D (St. Martin's Press, 2009).
Haunted by an ancestor’s tale of near death on a distant battlefield, James Carl Nelson set out in pursuit of the scraps of memory of his grandfather’s small infantry unit. Years of travel across the world led to the retrieval of unpublished personal papers, obscure memoirs, and communications from numerous Doughboys as well as original interviews of the descendents of his grandfather’s comrades in arms. The result is a compelling tale of battle rooted in new primary sources, and one man’s search for his grandfather’s legacy in a horrifying maelstrom that is today poorly understood and nearly forgotten.
The Remains of Company D follows the members of Company D, 28th Infantry Regiment, United States First Division, from enlistment to combat to the effort to recover their remains, focusing on the three major battles at Cantigny, Soissons, and in the Meuse-Argonne and the effect these horrific battles had on the men.
This is an important and powerful tale of the different destinies, personalities, and motivations of the men in Company D and a timeless portrayal of men at war.
Overy, Richard. The Twilight Years: The Paradox Between the Wars (Penguin, 2009).
By the end of World War I, Britain had become a laboratory for modernity, Intellectuals, politicians, scientists, and artists-among them Arnold Toynbee, Aldous Huxley, and H.G. Wells--sought a vision for a rapidly changing world. Coloring their innovative ideas and concepts, from eugenics to Freud's unconscious, was a creeping fear that the West was staring down the end of civilization.
In their home country of Britain, many of these fears were unfounded. The country had not suffered from economic collapse, occupation, civil war, or any of the idealogical conflicts of inter-war Europe. Nevertheless, the modern era's promise of progress was overshadowed by a looming sense of decay and death that would deeply influence creative production and public argument between the wars.
In The Twilight Years, award-winning historian Richard Overy examines the paradox of this period and argues that the coming of World War II was almost welcomed by Britain's leading thinkers, who saw it as an extraordinary test for the survival of civilization--and a way of resolving their contradictory fears and hopes about the future.
Palmer, Svetlana and Sarah Wallis. A War in Words (Pocket Books, 2004).
The book tells the story of the First World War through the diaries and letters of its combatants, eyewitnesses and victims. Powerful individual stories are interwoven to form an extraordinary narrative that follows the chronology of the war, in words written on the battlefield and on leave, under occupation and in prison. The book starts with the testimony of Vaso Cubrilovic, one of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassins. Each chapter focuses on one important episodes of the war told from opposite sides of the conflict. Thirteen different nationalities are represented.
Persico, Joseph E. Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918 World War I and Its Violent Climax (Random House, 2005).
November 11, 1918. The final hours pulsate with tension as every man in the trenches hopes to escape the melancholy distinction of being the last to die in World War I. The Allied generals knew the fighting would end precisely at 11:00 A.M, yet in the final hours they flung men against an already beaten Germany. The result? Eleven thousand casualties suffered–more than during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Why? Allied commanders wanted to punish the enemy to the very last moment and career officers saw a fast-fading chance for glory and promotion.
Joseph E. Persico puts the reader in the trenches with the forgotten and the famous–among the latter, Corporal Adolf Hitler, Captain Harry Truman, and Colonels Douglas MacArthur and George Patton. Mainly, he follows ordinary soldiers’ lives, illuminating their fate as the end approaches. Persico sets the last day of the war in historic context with a gripping reprise of all that led up to it, from the 1914 assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, which ignited the war, to the raw racism black doughboys endured except when ordered to advance and die in the war’s last hour. Persico recounts the war’s bloody climax in a cinematic style that evokes All Quiet on the Western Front, Grand Illusion, and Paths of Glory.
Prior, Robin. Passchendaele: The Untold Story. (Yale Nota Bene, 2nd edition, 2002).
The carnage on the Western Front at Passchendaele, where 275,000 Allied and 200,000 German soldiers fell, was neither inevitable nor inescapable, the authors of this gripping book insist. Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson here offer the most complete account of the campaign ever published, establishing what actually occurred, what options were available, and who was responsible for the devastation. This Nota Bene edition includes a new preface indicating the results of research completed since first publication.
Stevenson, David. Cataclysm: The First World War As Political Tragedy (Basic Books, 2004).
A major new history that changes our understanding of World War I, incorporating the latest in military, political, and economic research, destined to become the definitive account for years to come. The standard account of World War I says that the war happened because politicians lost control of events, and that once the war began, it quickly became an unstoppable machine. But in this major new work, historian David Stevenson shows that politicians deliberately took risks that led to war in July 1914, and that battle by bloody battle, their decision remained to continue the fighting. Cataclysm presents the disturbing reality that the course of the war was the result of conscious choices--including the continued acceptance of astronomical casualties.
Rather than the standard Germany-vs.-England account, Cataclysm is a truly international history, drawing on previously undisclosed records from the Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Ottoman governments. From the complex network of secret treaties and alliances that eventually drew all of Europe into the war, to the way that World War I reconfigured how societies mourn and memorialize wartime dead, Cataclysm is a major revision of World War I history.
Strachan, Hew. The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War (Oxford University Press, 2001).
The First World War has shaped the history of the twentieth century. It was the first conflict in which airplanes, submarines, and tanks played a significant role, the first in which casualties on the battlefield outnumbered those from disease. It precipitated the collapse of the empires of Austria-Hungary and Turkey, and it promoted revolution in that of Russia. The USA's entry into the war and the part it played in the peace settlement signaled the arrival on the world stage of a new great power. The victors at Versailles took nationalism as one of their guiding principles; they also aimed at instituting their vision of liberalism and even democracy; the political consequences are still being played out.
In this extensively illustrated book, an international team of experts explores the war in all its different aspects. From its causes to its consequences, from the strategy of the politicians to the tactics of the generals, the course of the war is charted and its political and human consequences assessed. Chapters on economic mobilization, the impact on women, the role of propaganda, and the rise of socialism establish the wider social context of fighting which took place at sea and in the air and which ranged on land from the Flanders trenches to the Balkan Mountains and the deserts of the Middle East.
The legacy of 'the war to end wars'--in poetry and prose, in collective memory and political culture--is with us still, eighty years after that first Armistice Day. This remarkable book helps us understand that legacy.
Travers, Tim. The Killing Ground: The British Army, the Western Front & Emergence of Modern Warfare 1900-1918 (Pen and Sword Books, 2003).
This book explains why the British Army fought the way it did in the First World War. It integrates social and military history and the impact of ideas to tell the story of how the army, especially the senior officers, adapted to the new technological warfare and asks: was the style of warfare on the Western Front inevitable?
Using an extensive range of unpublished diaries, letters, memoirs and Cabinet and War Office files, Professor Travers explains how and why the ideas, tactics and strategies emerged. He emphasizes the influence of pre-war social and military attitudes, and examines the early life and career of Sir Douglas Haig. The author's analysis of the preparations for the Battles of the Somme and Passchendaele provide new interpretations of the role of Haig and his GHQ, and he explains the reasons for the unexpected British Withdrawal in March 1918. An appendix supplies short biographies of senior British officers. In general, historians of the First World war are in two hostile camps: those who see the futility of lions led by donkeys on the one hand and on the other the apologists for Haig and the conduct of the war. Professor Traver's immensely readable book provides a bridge between the two.
Tuchman, Barbara. Guns of August (Ballantine Books, reprint edition, 1994).
Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman has brought to life again the people and events that led up to World War I. With attention to fascinating detail, and an intense knowledge of her subject and its characters, Ms. Tuchman reveals, for the first time, just how the war started, why, and why it could have been stopped but wasn't. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, The Guns Of August will not be forgotten.
Tuchman, Barbara. The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 (Macmillan, 1966).
The fateful quarter-century leading up to the World War I was a time when the world of Privilege still existed in Olympian luxury and the world of Protest was heaving in its pain, its power, and its hate. The age was the climax of a century of the most accelerated rate of change in history, a cataclysmic shaping of destiny.
In The Proud Tower, Barbara Tuchman concentrates on society rather than the state. With an artist's selectivity, Tuchman bings to vivid life the people, places, and events that shaped the years leading up to the Great War: the Edwardian aristocracy and the end of their reign; the Anarchists of Europe and America, who voiced the protest of the oppressed; Germany, as portrayed through the figure of the self-depicted Hero, Richard Strauss; the sudden gorgeous blaze of Diaghilev's Russian Ballet and Stravinsky's music; the Dreyfus Affair; the two Peace Conferences at the Hague; and, finally, the youth, ideals, enthusiasm, and tragedy of Socialism, epitomized in the moment when the heroic Jean Jaurès was shot to death on the night the War began and an epoch ended.
Winter, Jay. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning : The Great War in European Cultural History. (Cambridge University Press, reprint edition, 1998).
Jay Winter's powerful study of the "collective remembrance" of the Great War offers a major reassessment of one of the critical episodes in the cultural history of the twentieth century. Dr. Winter looks anew at the culture of commemoration and the ways in which communities endeavored to find collective solace after 1918. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning is a profound and moving book of great importance for the attempt to understand the course of European history during the first half of the twentieth century.