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The Great war Myth and Memory


John W

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The Great war Myth and Memory

By Dan Todman, published by Hambledon and London, isbn 1 85285 469 6

Having purchased a copy of this book at the launch on Saturday at the National Army Museum, I spent the last 3 nights reading it.

The book sets out to look at some of the abiding views of the great war and the myths about them. Dan Todman examines the idea that the western front was a sea of mud and the war was a piece of futility directed by donkeys. Whilst thes esections were of great interest to me advancing a hypothosis of how these stark images have become part of the accepted view that all of the great War was like this, the following chapters on veterans and modern memory provided much food for thought and strong caution to those who would take an Oral History statement as gospel fact. The other chapter on the vice like grip that the war poets have on the public awareness of the war provided further insight into how this dominante version of events came to be.

As Blackadder's captain Flaheart put it when summing up the horror of the war " the mud, the blood, the endless poetry" this is the public perception of the war. perhaps this boojk by Dan Todman will allow one or two of them to advance to a better knowledge, understanding how many peoples pre conceptions were formed.

I strongly recomend this book

John

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  • 1 month later...

Having read 4 chapters of this book today, for me the best book published on the war in 2005.

David

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Looking forward to getting it. How does it compare with Brian Bond's "The Unquiet Western Front"?

Charles

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Looking forward to getting it. How does it compare with Brian Bond's "The Unquiet Western Front"?

Charles

Hello Charles,

Broadly similiar themes but greater analysis; there is some repitition, especially the section on Donkeys, but I was particularly impressed with the section on Veterans.

David

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  • 1 year later...

Many Thanks, Gentlemen

I've been looking for a favourable review of Todman's work-not that I can't make my own mind up. :D

Kind Regards,

Dave

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An excellent book which those still subscribing to the 'donkeys' view on another thread need to read for enlightenment!

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An excellent book which those still subscribing to the 'donkeys' view on another thread need to read for enlightenment!

The trouble when you make a comment like this is that everybody that has an opinion that might even slightly differ from your's thinks "does he mean me?", so, do you mean me?

Regards,

Jon S

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I agree, Dan Todman's book is an eyeopening look at just how our preconceptions of the war were formed and who may or may not have had influence upon the formation.

I did think Dan Todman tried not to lay in one "camp", so to speak. I was impressed with the way the book laid out the facts as he sees them, the arguments as we see them and left it to the reader to decide....

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