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14-18: Understanding the Great War

14-18: Understanding the Great War

Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker; Translated from the French by Catherine Temerson

Hill and Wang


With this brilliantly innovative book, reissued for the one-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker have shown that the Great War was the matrix from which all subsequent disasters of the twentieth century were formed. They identify three often neglected or denied aspects of the conflict that are essential for understanding the war: First, what inspired its unprecedented physical brutality, and what were the effects of tolerating such violence? Second, how did citizens of the belligerent states come to be driven by vehement nationalistic and racist impulses? Third, how did the tens of millions bereaved by the war come to terms with the agonizing pain? With its strikingly original interpretative strength and its wealth of compelling documentary evidence, 14–18: Understanding the Great War has established itself as a classic in the history of modern warfare.

Praise for 14-18: Understanding the Great War

“A passionate work . . . Not only an exploration of the past but also a meditation on history, and on those historians who looked at the world of the past through the lens of honesty, in order to give it clarity, sense, and truth.” —Daniel Rondeau, L'Express

“Extraordinarily lucid on complex themes . . . [A] sophisticated attempt to recover the war's significance . . . Audoin-Rouzeau and Becker are directors of the Historial de la Grande Guerre in Péronne, and their book offers a splendidly readable synoptic introduction to the comparative and interdisciplinary work of that research center.” —Hew Strachan, Foreign Affairs

“Opens up an often provocative perspective on the Great War . . . Its sometime comparative anthropological dimension is in itself revolutionary . . . A rich work, grounded both in a concrete understanding of the First World War itself and in a more general consideration of the era of the war.” —Bruno Cabanes, La Q uinzaine Littéraire

“[A] stimulating analysis of WWI as 'a paradigm case for thinking about what is the very essence of history: the weight of the dead on the living' . . . Of great interest to students of the war, and anthropologically inclined students of war.” —Kirkus Reviews


Reviews from Goodreads

Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker; Translated from the French by Catherine Temerson

Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau is the Director of the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences and co-director of the Research Center of the Museum of the Great War (Historial de la Grande Guere) in the Somme.

Annette Becker is Professor of Contemporary History at Paris West University Nanterre La Défense and a senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France.

Their extensive publications about World War I include the coauthored work, 14-18: Understanding the Great War.

Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau

Annette Becker

Hill and Wang

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