The Great War and Modern Memory
By Paul Fussell
Why this book?
There’s a good reason this book remains current after so many years- quite simply, it is brilliant. It has all the grit and élan of a great and thoughtful writer who has seen combat. Fussell used the war of 1914 to articulate to American audiences what they needed to hear – that someone else appreciated the grim, visceral realities of warfare and loss, recognized the gap between rhetoric and reality, and understood the flood of irony it generated. As he admitted long after his best-selling book was published, The Great War in Modern Memory was “really about the Vietnam War as much as it [was] about the First World War”. If one is to start anywhere in attempting to understand the cultural history of the First World War, it really should be here.
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