The Beauty And The Sorrow: An Intimate History Of The First World War

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The Beauty And The Sorrow: An Intimate History Of The First World War

by Peter Englund

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | July 29, 2014 | Hardcover

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In this masterly, highly original narrative history, Peter Englund takes a revelatory new approach to the history of World War I, magnifying its least examined, most stirring component: the experiences of the average man and woman—not only the tragedy and horror but also the absurdity and even, at times, the beauty.
 
The twenty people from whose journals and letters Englund draws are from Belgium, Denmark, and France; Great Britain, Germany, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire; Italy, Australia, and New Zealand; Russia, Venezuela, and the United States. There is a young man in the British army infantry who had been considering emigrating until the war offered him its “grand promise of change” and a middle-aged French civil servant, a socialist and writer whose “faith simply crumbled” at the outbreak of war. There is a twelve-year-old German girl thrilled with the news of the army’s victories because it means that she and her classmates are allowed to shout and scream at school. There is an American woman married to a Polish aristocrat, living a life of quiet luxury when the war begins but who will be moved, ultimately, to declare: Looking Death in the eyes, one loses the fear of Him. From field surgeon to nurse to fighter pilot, some are on the Western Front, others in the Balkans, East Africa, Mesopotamia. Two will die, one will never hear a shot fired; some will become prisoners of war, others will be celebrated as heroes. But despite their various war-time occupations and fates, genders and nationalities, they will be united by their involvement—witting or otherwise—in The Great, and terrible, War.
 
A brilliant mosaic of perspectives that moves between the home front and the front lines, The Beauty and the Sorrow reconstructs the feelings, impressions, experiences, and shifting spirits of these twenty particular people, allowing them to speak not only for themselves but also for all those who were in some way shaped by the war, but whose voices have been forgotten, rejected, or simply remained unheard.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 560 pages, 9.62 × 6.66 × 1.72 in

Published: July 29, 2014

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030759386X

ISBN - 13: 9780307593863

Found in: History

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– More About This Product –

The Beauty And The Sorrow: An Intimate History Of The First World War

by Peter Englund

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 560 pages, 9.62 × 6.66 × 1.72 in

Published: July 29, 2014

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030759386X

ISBN - 13: 9780307593863

About the Book

"Originally published in Sweden as Stridens Sk'onhet Och Sorg by Atlantis, Stockholm, in 2009" [i.e. 2008].--T.p. verso.

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 1 1914 Go to war not for the sake of goods and gold, not for your homeland or for honour, nor to seek the death of your enemies, but to strengthen your character, to strengthen it in power and will, in habits, custom and earnestness. That is why I want to go to war. KRESTEN ANDRESEN Chronology 1914 28 June Murder of the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo. 23 July Austria-Hungary delivers an ultimatum to Serbia. 28 July Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. 29 July Russia mobilises against Austria-Hungary in support of Serbia. 31 July Germany demands that Russia cease mobilisation but Russia continues. 1 August Germany mobilises, as does Russia''s ally, France. 2 August German troops enter France and Luxembourg; Russians enter East Prussia. 3 August Germany demands passage for German troops through Belgium. The demand is refused. 4 August Germany invades Belgium. Great Britain declares war on Germany. 6 August French troops enter the German colony of Togoland. 7 August Russia invades German East Prussia. 13 August Austria-Hungary invades Serbia. The campaign is ultimately unsuccessful. 14 August French troops enter German Lothringen (Lorraine) but are pushed back. 18 August Russia invades the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia. 20 August Brussels falls. German armies sweep south towards Paris. 24 August The Allied invasion of the German colony of the Cameroons begins. 26 August The Battle of Tannenberg begins. The Russian invasion of
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From the Publisher

In this masterly, highly original narrative history, Peter Englund takes a revelatory new approach to the history of World War I, magnifying its least examined, most stirring component: the experiences of the average man and woman—not only the tragedy and horror but also the absurdity and even, at times, the beauty.
 
The twenty people from whose journals and letters Englund draws are from Belgium, Denmark, and France; Great Britain, Germany, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire; Italy, Australia, and New Zealand; Russia, Venezuela, and the United States. There is a young man in the British army infantry who had been considering emigrating until the war offered him its “grand promise of change” and a middle-aged French civil servant, a socialist and writer whose “faith simply crumbled” at the outbreak of war. There is a twelve-year-old German girl thrilled with the news of the army’s victories because it means that she and her classmates are allowed to shout and scream at school. There is an American woman married to a Polish aristocrat, living a life of quiet luxury when the war begins but who will be moved, ultimately, to declare: Looking Death in the eyes, one loses the fear of Him. From field surgeon to nurse to fighter pilot, some are on the Western Front, others in the Balkans, East Africa, Mesopotamia. Two will die, one will never hear a shot fired; some will become prisoners of war, others will be celebrated as heroes. But despite their various war-time occupations and fates, genders and nationalities, they will be united by their involvement—witting or otherwise—in The Great, and terrible, War.
 
A brilliant mosaic of perspectives that moves between the home front and the front lines, The Beauty and the Sorrow reconstructs the feelings, impressions, experiences, and shifting spirits of these twenty particular people, allowing them to speak not only for themselves but also for all those who were in some way shaped by the war, but whose voices have been forgotten, rejected, or simply remained unheard.

About the Author

Peter Englund is a Swedish historian, who has received numerous prizes in his own country and whose works have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also been working as a war correspondent in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Englund is a member of the Swedish Academy (which awards the Nobel Prize in Literature), and in 2008 was appointed its new permanent secretary, an office he still holds.

Editorial Reviews

“Intense and bighearted . . . The best books about World War I have often been oblique, like Paul Fussell’s Great War and Modern Memory, or novels, like Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, rather than comprehensive histories. Englund’s volume joins an unconventional pantheon . . . The accounts of [these] lives can be terrifying or stirring, but are most fully alive in Englund’s accumulation of small moments, stray details . . . His book has the most devastating ending I can remember in a piece of nonfiction.” — The New York Times “A wonderfully wide and rich mosaic of personal experience from the First World War.” —Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad and D-Day: The Battle for Normandy   “Powerful and compelling . . . Of the many books about the First World War this is among the most strikingly original . . . Almost every page of Englund’s book is fresh and revelatory.” — Daily Express (UK)   “Englund covers a lot of ground in The Beauty and the Sorrow, geographically, topically, and in point of view . . . Englund succeeds in his goal to humanize the war.” — Dallas Morning News “Englund frees individual experience from the collective cloak of history and geography [in] this extraordinary book . . . The details build like a symphony.” — Mail on Sunday (UK)   “They call them the lost generation, but you’ll find
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