Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

The Long Shadow


Old Tom

Recommended Posts

This interesting, well written, work has a sub title 'The Great War and the Twentieth Century'. I am enjoying it.

Old Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom - not much help to anyone interested - complete title and at least an outline of the subject would be helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David,

You have a point, however the full title is given and I have not finised it yet.

Old Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My opinion of this book.

This work by the Professor of International History at Cambridge, is according to the dust jacket ‘ a magisterial reinterpretation of the place of the Great War in modern history. It runs to some 400 pages supported by about 50 pages of notes. The contents are groups in two parts; Legacies and Refractions.

Legacies, describes the effects of the war on the various countries involved, democracy, empire, capitalism, civilisation and peace. I found these chapters informative and the description of the influence of aspects of operations, in particular air power fascinating.

Refractions, with chapters entitled, again, evil, generations, Tommies and Remembrance less satisfying. Much of these chapters gives the authors views on other authors work , both fact and fiction, and, to my mind, has a significant anti-revisionist flavour. References are made to events as recent as 2011. A quote may illustrate why I have come to this conclusion. “ Despite the efforts of revisionist historians, in Britain the Great War has remained a saga of personal tragedies, illuminated by poetry not history, a subject for remembrance rather than understanding.”

I read this work fairly soon after reading ‘The War that ended Peace’ which, of course, deals with the causes of the war, while this one deals with its effects. I would recommend both to those wishing to put the Great War into an historical perspective.

Old Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rather presumptuous of me to comment on a book of which I've only read the introduction but I think to describe 'The Long Shadow' as anti-revisionist is rather misleading. I take the passage quoted above to be sympathetic to the Revisionist view rather than opposed to it. I believe the author is suggesting that the British view of the conflict as a futile mess obscures the real achievments made.

I'd like to hear from anyone else who has read it before adding it to my already overburdened shelves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I finished reading this in March. I won't mince my words. It is one of the best books on the First World War I have read.

Reynolds says the Great War cast a shadow over Britain which remains to this day. For example, it is told through the tragic medium of war poets and tales of slaughter on July 1, 1916.

I disagree with Old Tom that Reynolds is 'anti-revisionist'. I would broadly agree with the quote from Reynolds: “Despite the efforts of revisionist historians, in Britain the Great War has remained a saga of personal tragedies, illuminated by poetry not history, a subject for remembrance rather than understanding."

This would not make me anti-revisionist. Despite work from Gary Sheffield, Peter Hart et al the Great War is told through the narrative of the first day of the battle of the somme, and Wildred Owen. This is how Reynolds interprets how Britain views the war, not him saying he thinks that how it ought to be viewed.

That's my two pennies.

Definitely one for people who want to understand why the Great War is viewed the way it is today. It's academic and it took me until the fourth chapter to really engage with it, but after then I was hooked. I couldn't put it down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Just finished this book. Brilliant would have to be my word.

Not a book on the war itself but on its consequences and how it is remembered.

I will agree it was a little hard to get into to start with but well worth the effort.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's going to be my summer read so encouraged by comments on this thread as well as an article by Gary Sheffield who says it is the best book on the war published this year.

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...