The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Winner of the 2014 PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for the Best Work of History. "If you only read one book about the First World War in this anniversary year, read The Long Shadow. David Reynolds writes superbly and his analysis is compelling and original." ―Anne Chisolm, Chair of the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize Committee, and Chair of the Royal Society of Literature.
One of the most violent conflicts in the history of civilization, World War I has been strangely forgotten in American culture. It has become a ghostly war fought in a haze of memory, often seen merely as a distant preamble to World War II. In The Long Shadow critically acclaimed historian David Reynolds seeks to broaden our vision by assessing the impact of the Great War across the twentieth century. He shows how events in that turbulent century―particularly World War II, the Cold War, and the collapse of Communism―shaped and reshaped attitudes to 1914–18.
By exploring big themes such as democracy and empire, nationalism and capitalism, as well as art and poetry, The Long Shadow is stunningly broad in its historical perspective. Reynolds throws light on the vast expanse of the last century and explains why 1914–18 is a conflict that America is still struggling to comprehend. Forging connections between people, places, and ideas, The Long Shadow ventures across the traditional subcultures of historical scholarship to offer a rich and layered examination not only of politics, diplomacy, and security but also of economics, art, and literature. The result is a magisterial reinterpretation of the place of the Great War in modern history.
16 pages of illustrations
War, is obscure—to put it mildly. But President Kennedy was deeply affected by the book. In an era when the Pentagon was awash with spurious business-speak rationality, he seems to have been genuinely shocked by the concatenation of accident, misunderstanding, ego, and plain stupidity in 1914 as national leaders “somehow seemed to tumble into war” rather than embarking on it as a considered act of policy. Musing about The Guns of August during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the president told his
Labour majorities in hitherto safe constituencies.35 The nationalist resurgence took different forms in the two countries, however. In Wales the dominant theme was culture, especially the survival of the Welsh language. In 1900 more than half the population spoke Welsh, by the 1960s barely a quarter, but the Language Act of 1967 gave Welsh equal official status with English. Nationalist feeling in Wales was mainly concerned with “the preservation of a disappearing way of life,” whereas Scottish
eyes. “I am the enemy you killed, my friend.” But that was yesterday. “Let us sleep now . . .” Here, in Birdsong, life was imitating art, all within the realm of fiction.56 Around Stephen’s war story Faulks spins two other narratives. The first is Stephen’s passionate affair in 1910 with a married Frenchwoman in Amiens from which, unknown to him, a child is born. This prelude also enables Faulks to create ironic foretastes of things to come. There is, for instance, talk of a fishing trip on the
Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, vol. 5, companion part 1 (London, 1979), p. 1033; O’Brien, British and American Naval Power, pp. 154, 172, 188, 195–97; Christopher Hall, Britain, America and Arms Control, 1921–37 (London, 1987), p. 32. 83.Michael Adas, “Contesting Hegemony: The Great War and the Afro-Asian Assault on the Civilizing Mission Ideology,” Journal of World History 15 (2004), esp. pp. 42, 62. CHAPTER 4: CAPITALISM 1.John Maynard Keynes, Essays in Persuasion (London, 1931), p. ix,
could have leveraged himself to power, like Mussolini, on the back of middle-class rage. Someone such as the unscrupulous jingoist Horatio Bottomley whose paper, John Bull, was predicting in May 1918 “the impending collapse of parliamentary government” because the politicians had “sold the pass.” Such counterfactual speculation should not be pushed too far, of course, but it underlines the point that victory really mattered.36 However, resentment at the war’s outcome is not the whole explanation