Poilu

Author: Louis Barthas
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300206951
Release Date: 2014-03-28
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

DIVAlong with millions of other Frenchmen, Louis Barthas, a thirty-five-year-old barrelmaker from a small wine-growing town, was conscripted to fight the Germans in the opening days of World War I. Corporal Barthas spent the next four years in near-ceaseless combat, wherever the French army fought its fiercest battles: Artois, Flanders, Champagne, Verdun, the Somme, the Argonne. Barthas’ riveting wartime narrative, first published in France in 1978, presents the vivid, immediate experiences of a frontline soldier. This excellent new translation brings Barthas’ wartime writings to English-language readers for the first time. His notebooks and letters represent the quintessential memoir of a “poilu,” or “hairy one,” as the untidy, unshaven French infantryman of the fighting trenches was familiarly known. Upon Barthas’ return home in 1919, he painstakingly transcribed his day-to-day writings into nineteen notebooks, preserving not only his own story but also the larger story of the unnumbered soldiers who never returned. Recounting bloody battles and endless exhaustion, the deaths of comrades, the infuriating incompetence and tyranny of his own officers, Barthas also describes spontaneous acts of camaraderie between French poilus and their German foes in trenches just a few paces apart. An eloquent witness and keen observer, Barthas takes his readers directly into the heart of the Great War./div

Words and the First World War

Author: Julian Walker
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9781350012745
Release Date: 2017-12-28
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

"An illustrated analytical study, Words and the First World War considers the situation at home, at war, and under categories such as race, gender and class to give a many-sided picture of language used during the conflict." The Spectator First World War expert Julian Walker looks at how the conflict shaped English and its relationship with other languages. He considers language in relation to mediation and authenticity, as well as the limitations and potential of different kinds of verbal communication. Walker also examines: - How language changed, and why changed language was used in communications - Language used at the Front and how the 'language of the war' was commercially exploited on the Home Front - The relationship between language, soldiers and class - The idea of the 'indescribability' of the war and the linguistic codes used to convey the experience 'Languages of the front' became linguistic souvenirs of the war, abandoned by soldiers but taken up by academics, memoir writers and commentators, leaving an indelible mark on the words we use even today.

Gender and the Great War

Author: Susan R. Grayzel
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190271084
Release Date: 2017
Genre: History

The centenary of the First World War in 2014-18 offers an opportunity to reflect upon the role of gender history in shaping our understanding of this pivotal international event. From the moment of its outbreak, the gendered experiences of the war have been seen by contemporary observers and postwar commentators and scholars as being especially significant for shaping how the war can and must be understood. The negotiating of ideas about gender by women and men across vast reaches of the globe characterizes this modern, instrumental conflict. Over the past twenty-five years, as the scholarship on gender and this war has grown, there has never been a forum such as the one presented here that placed so many of the varying threads of this complex historiography into conversation with one another in a manner that is at once accessible and provocative. Given the vast literature on the war itself, scholarship on gender and various themes and topics provides students as well as scholars with a chance to think not only about the subject of the war but also the methodological implications of how historians have approached it. While many studies have addressed the national or transnational narrative of women in the war, none address both femininity and masculinity, and the experiences of both women and men across the same geographic scope as the studies presented in this volume.

Commitment and Sacrifice

Author: Frans Coetzee
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199336074
Release Date: 2015
Genre: History

For years, those who attempted to understand the devastation of World War I looked to the collections of diplomatic documents, the stirring speeches, and the partisan memoirs of the leading participants. However, those accounts offered little by way of the intimate history, or the individual experiences of those involved in the Great War. In Commitment and Sacrifice, Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee and Frans Coetzee provide just such an "intimate look" by bringing together previously unpublished diaries of five participants in the First World War and restoring to publication the diary of a sixth that has long been out of print. The six diaries address the war on the Western front and the Mediterranean, as well as behind the lines on the home front. Together, these diarists form a diverse group: John French, a British sapper who dug precarious tunnels beneath the trenches of the Western Front; Henri Desagneaux, a French infantry officer embroiled in years of bloody combat; Philip T. Cate, an idealistic American volunteer ambulance driver who sought to save lives rather than take them; Willy Wolff, a German businessman caught in England upon the war's outbreak and interned there for the duration; James Douglas Hutchison, a New Zealand artilleryman fighting thousands of miles from home; and Felix Kaufmann, a German machine gunner, captured and held as a prisoner of war. Through the personal reflections of these young men, we are transported into many of the iconic episodes of the war, from the upheaval of mobilization through the great battles of Gallipoli, Verdun, and the Somme, as well as the less familiar "other ordeal" of internment and captivity. As members of the so-called Generation of 1914 (each was between nineteen and twenty-four years old), they shared an unwavering commitment to their countries' cause, and possessed a steadfast determination to persevere despite often appalling circumstances. Collectively, these diaries illuminate the sacrifices of war, whether willingly volunteered or stoically endured. That the diarists had the desire and the ingenuity to record their experiences, whether for their families, posterity, or simply their own personal satisfaction, gives readers the ability to eavesdrop on horrors long past. A century later, we are fortunate that they were both willing and able to set pencil to paper.