This massive study has been produced under the editorship of Professor Jay Winter
of Yale University and the Editorial Committee of the International Research
Centre of the Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, Somme. It attempts a
new interpretation of the First World War, based on its transnational and global
impact. Some 43 contributions by a ‘transnational’ group of scholars provide a
detailed and convincing account of the war, going well beyond more orthodox
treatments which emphasize the strategy and tactics involved. In the first volume,
Global war, Winter and his colleagues examine, for example, the spread of the
conflict to distant continents, together with a discussion of the law of war, atrocities
and genocide. Volume II covers the changing nature of the state as the war
progressed, the role of armed forces, the sinews of war and the search for peace.
Volume III analyses the war’s impact on civil society in all its various guises during
the conflict; hence we are offered scholarly treatment of, for example, private
life, gender and cultural life. This bald summary does scant justice to a magisterial
work, an essential resource for those —at schools and universities—who teach the
history of the First World War and its impact on domestic and global developments.
Of particular interest is the fine reproduction of photos and paintings and
the annotated and detailed bibliographies attached to each volume. Winter and
his colleagues deserve to be congratulated for providing both the scholar and the
interested layperson with an exemplary treatment of an event, the significance of
which still echoes down the years.