Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade Hardcover – April 29, 2014
Find Rare and Collectible Books
Discover rare, signed and first edition books on AbeBooks, an Amazon Company. Learn More on AbeBooks.com.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
*Starred Review* Sounding like a medieval priest galvanizing eleventh-century Crusaders, a twentieth-century Yale theologian urges his countrymen to “buckle on Christian armor and take their place in the fighting ranks” of doughboys up against German heathens. What is more, Jenkins finds such religious rhetoric in the mouths of countless combatants on both sides of the Great War. In Germany, Russia, Britain, America, and the Ottoman Empire, readers hear fervid sermons urging attacks on devilish foes and promising divine deliverance to righteous warriors. Jenkins recognizes the incongruity between ancient scriptural phrases and modern weaponry—machine guns, mustard gas, tanks, and airplanes. Yet he finds the archaic language of godly violence pervading even officially secular France and infecting even America’s most liberal clergy (one of whom calls for the extermination of the German people!). Readers see how political and ecclesiastical hierarchies join forces in rallying their followers with holy-war appeals, but they also see how the war incubates apocalyptic and superstitious popular beliefs that fracture the elites’ orthodoxies. Indeed, in what was once Christendom, these fantastic war-born beliefs incubate the pseudo-religious impulses of Nazism and communism, and in the world of Islam, they foster a dangerous new extremism. An astonishing chronicle of intense piety inciting acts of terrible carnage. --Bryce Christensen
“This sweeping, carefully researched book makes sense of a global conflict... [that] redrew the global map and reshaped all the major faiths involved.” (Christianity Today)
“An astounding chronicle of intense piety inciting acts of terrible carnage.” (Booklist, starred review)
“Jenkins’ vividly written synthesis [on World War I] belongs at the top of reading lists on the conflict.” (Christian Century)
“In his masterful book Jenkins…firmly establishes that WWI did not just reshape the political landscape, but it created the religious world we exist in today.” (The Catholic World Report)
“A painstaking, densely layered study of a time when religious themes underpinned the militarism and nationalism of the embroiled nations. Indeed, as Jenkins carefully portrays, the war changed everything, from the collapse of the old order to the compromising and weakening of world faiths. A work of intensely nuanced research.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“If you care about religious diversity and the role of faith in global war and peace—then you must get a copy of The Great and Holy War. [A] unique and important look at how the First World War reshaped global conflicts we are still wrestling with a century later.” (ReadTheSpirit)
“As thoroughly researched as it is readable. Even scholars well versed in the field will learn much from this work. Possessing a superior grasp of the political and military history, the author…presents a perceptive and engaging view of the war …[Jenkins] sets a high standard.” (Anglican and Episcopal History)
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Philip Jenkins divides his book - roughly - into two halves. The first, concentrating on the actual war years - 1914 to 1918 - and the second, which looks at the post-war period into the 1930's and 1940's. In August,1914, the soldiers of France, Germany, Great Britain, and the other combatants marched off to battle. "God, King, and Country" was a rallying cry and most soldiers - and their leaders - thought they'd be home for Christmas, 1914. They were "home for Christmas" - those who survived the carnage - but not until Christmas, 1918. Most leaders, on both sides, thought this war would be like the two that came before it, 1866 and 1870, short and sweet. And, in fact, the Germans made it almost to the outskirts of Paris in 1914, before being turned back. The war settled into bunkers and trenches for four years, opposing armies facing each other through barbed wire and bullets.
One of the Ten Commandments is "Thou Shalt Not Kill". But what were the church leaders on both sides saying as war broke out? Something like "Thou Shalt Not Kill...unless it's your enemy who are doing dreadful things to Belgian babies/Nurses/Nuns, etc." The war was greatly supported by the clergy - both Christian and Jewish - and soldiers marched off, blessed for battle by their religious leaders. Jenkins looks at how mainline religious institutions supported the war effort. And at how "sects" began to pop up, as well as the occult as mourning parents and wives sought comfort in trying to communicate with their dead loved ones.
Religion also played a part in the political processes of the war. In Germany, at the war's end and aftermath, the Jews were blamed along with other minority groups, as having "stabbed the soldiers in the back", thus bringing about German defeat. These sentiments, and the actions that followed them, were to play a part in the rise of the anti-Semitic Nazi Party in Germany. In the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church was sidelined as the Communist Party became almost the state religion. Jenkins also looks at the Armenian Massacres in Turkey in 1915 and after.
The second part of the book looks at other parts of the world influenced by the Great War. How Turkey and the other Muslim areas became political entities after the Ottoman Empire collapsed after the war. And how the Holy Land remained the political hot potato when the British and French began making arbitrary decisions of what areas became what countries, post war.
Philip Jenkins has written a lively book about a relatively unexamined part of the Great War and the later years. This book shouldn't be missed by any arm-chair historians.
Where things get really interesting, and in keeping with Jenkins' larger academic project, are the late chapters. In the ruins of Christendom, Jenkins notes that some of the most important results of this war include a new situation for Judaism (Zionism), spiritual liberation for those from below (subject people's of the world), under-reported genocide in Armenia, and the shift of Christianity to the global South, as well as a changing landscape for Islam in the absence of a Caliphate.
Jenkins writes, "Most Western observers [of the time] viewed affairs in Africa and Asia as colorful irrelevancies, and that was particularly true in matters of religion. Except for a handful of specialized academics, why should anyone care about the fate of Christianity outside its natural home in Europe and North America, or pay the slightest heed to the historical dead end that was Islam? A century later, such disregard looks very blinkered. So much of the religious history of the subsequent era does in fact focus on those twin facts: Islam, and Christianity outside the Euro-American sphere. So much of that story, in fact, is a continuation and sequel of the turmoil that began in 1914. Those from below would not always remain in the humble places that the empires assigned them" (285).
For any number of reasons this is the book to read on the centenary of the Great War. Whether readers are looking for a historical review, insights into the religious landscape of the period, or understanding of the war's continuing impact, this book is the place to start.
My only caveat (and one that doesn't warrant knocking a star off the rating, mind you) is that the author diverts into territories that aren't necessarily important to this thesis or the title of the book. With the subtitle being how WWI became a religious crusade, there were a few points throughout where I found myself asking what, exactly, I was reading had to do with the title. Informative, absolutely; directly related to the point, not so much.
That being said, it's all written so well and it is all interesting enough that it doesn't matter. All of it is important to understanding a time period which affects our current reality far more than most realize or are willing to admit.