The list author says: "The lights are going out all over Europe and I doubt we will see them go on again in our lifetime. . .
~ Edward Grey
Much has been written about the tragedy of the hideous First World War. As we approach the centennial of the conflict's outbreak in 2014, sober reflections on "the meaning of it all" are sure to begin. I propose some materials to help with this necessary excavation and remembrance. This list is made up of different media, fiction and nonfiction, and from different perspectives. I don't propose any one of them will give a full and complete treatment of the topic.
Traditionally, we think of this war being fought in Europe, and specifically on the Western Front. . . in rat-infested (sometimes flooded) trenches. Fought by lions, led by donkeys. The whistle and the bayonet. Gas masks and wire fences. War poets writing about the special love found between brothers-in-arms. Poppies. And, of course, the ever present and ominous "No Man's Land." As in all things, there is truth to be found in these popular tropes. But the war was fought in Africa as well, in the Alps, in snows on the Eastern Front, in the deserts of Arabia, under and on the ocean, and in the air itself. Add to this violence the subsequent ethnic cleansings and Spanish flu, each of which must be viewed as major catastrophes on their own. . ."