, Volume 91, Number 4

J. E. Spence
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.

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