Wednesday, December 1, 2010
John Keegan's "The First World War" (Cadillac)
I had the ponderous experience of reading this over Remembrance Day. It took me a few weeks to get through this, through no fault of the book itself. Blame it on the heady content, blame it on the life-stage; who can say.
Keegan's history of The Great War was moving and illuminating, a combination too rare in history texts. It did a fine job of pulling together the broad trajectories of the war, but more importantly, gave a good sense of the intimate experience of this jarring first engagement with war on an industrial scale. Ultimately, this was at the heart of Keegan's amazing work - an ability to evoke how really disruptive and cataclysmic this war was to the world-view of those who witnessed it.
A horrific and shameful episode in our collective history, but at moments, equally redemptive of a faith in humanism. Lest we forget, indeed...
Highly recommended... John Keegan - "The First World War"