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Picture of Popular Experience and Cultural Representation of the Great War, 1914-1918

Popular Experience and Cultural Representation of the Great War, 1914-1918

Editor(s): Ruth Larsen, Ian Whitehead

Book Description

This book considers the diversity of the experiences and legacies of the First World War, looking at the actions of those who fought, those who remained at home and those who returned from the arena of war. It examines Edwardian ideals of gender and how these shaped social expectations of the roles to be played by men and women with regards to the national cause. It looks at men’s experiences of combat and killing on the Western Front, exploring the ways in which masculine gender ideals and male social relationships moulded their experience of battle. It shows how the women of the controversial White Feather campaign exploited traditional ideas of heroism and male duty in war to embarrass men into volunteering for military service. The book also examines children’s toys and recreation, underlining how play helped to promote patriotic values in children and thus prepared boys and girls for the respective roles they might be called upon to make in war.

A strong sense of British identity and a faith in the superiority of British values, customs and institutions underpinned the collective war effort. The book looks at how, even in captivity at the Ruhleben internment camp, the British gave expression to this identity. The book emphasises the extent to which this was a conflict in which Britain sought to defend and even extend its imperial dominion. It also discusses how different political and cultural agendas have shaped the way in which Britain has remembered the War.

As such, the book reflects the diversity of popular experience in the War, both at home and in the empire. Britain’s entry into the War in 1914 helped to ensure that it became a truly global conflict. The contributors here draw attention to the significant social, cultural and political legacies for Britain and her empire of a conflict which, one hundred years later, continues to be the subject of considerable controversy.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-9590-3
ISBN-10: 1-4438-9590-3
Date of Publication: 01/09/2017
Pages / Size: 133 / A5
Price: £58.99


Dr Ruth Larsen is a Senior Lecturer and Head of History at the University of Derby, UK, having received her PhD from the University of York, UK. Her teaching interests are focused on public history, the social and cultural history of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and material culture studies. She has published a range of edited books, articles and chapters exploring a variety of topics including gender history, epistolary cultures and religious history.

Dr Ian Whitehead is a Senior Lecturer in History and Deputy Head of Humanities at the University of Derby, UK, having received his PhD from Leeds University, UK. His teaching interests lie in modern British history, the history of twentieth century warfare and the history of medicine. He is the author of Doctors in the Great War (1999) and has co-edited, with J.M. Bourne and P.H. Liddle, two volumes comparing the international experiences of the world wars: The Great World War, 1914–1945: Lightning Strikes Twice (2000) and The Great World War, 1914–1945: Who Won? Who Lost? (2001).