The list author says: ". . . this European war affected almost everyone on earth in an unprecedented way. It brought the United States into the limelight of world power. It proved the beginning of the end for the British Empire. The Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empire were dissolved, and new national interests rushed in to fill the void. At the time, it seemed to put a muzzle on German militarism.
The questions about this war resound in the minds of historians. Why wasn't the conflict prevented in 1914 by the leadership of the major countries? Who was ultimately to blame for the escalation? Was this the final conflagration of waning imperial powers, or the volcanic rising of the modern nation states? Did the war make the world safe for democracy, or did it pave the way for jingoism, communism, and fascism? And was the war, finally, a tragic necessity or an avoidable war of choice?
We owe it to those who fell to seek out the answers, even if they are complicated and painful.
. . . If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin, If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs Bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-- My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.
"Fiction. . . Barker is my favorite of these. The humane and gentle character of Sassoon's doctor, psychologist William Rivers, is the most unforgettable. The books give you an idea of what veterans had to cope with socially and psychologically behind the lines."