On the Battlefield of Memory: The First World War and American Remembrance, 1919-1941 by Steven TroutOn the Battlefield of Memory: The First World War and American Remembrance, 1919-1941 by Steven Trout

On the Battlefield of Memory: The First World War and American Remembrance, 1919-1941

bySteven Trout

Paperback | May 29, 2012

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This work is a detailed study of how Americans in the 1920s and 1930s interpreted and remembered the First World War. Steven Trout asserts that from the beginning American memory of the war was fractured and unsettled, more a matter of competing sets of collective memories—each set with its own spokespeople— than a unified body of myth. The members of the American Legion remembered the war as a time of assimilation and national harmony. However, African Americans and radicalized whites recalled a very different war. And so did many of the nation’s writers, filmmakers, and painters.

Trout studies a wide range of cultural products for their implications concerning the legacy of the war: John Dos Passos’s novels Three Soldiers and 1919, Willa Cather’s One of Ours, William March’s Company K, and Laurence Stallings’s Plumes; paintings by Harvey Dunn, Horace Pippin, and John Steuart Curry; portrayals of the war in The American Legion Weekly and The American Legion Monthly; war memorials and public monuments like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; and commemorative products such as the twelve-inch tall Spirit of the American Doughboy statue.

Trout argues that American memory of World War I was not only confused and contradictory during the ‘20s and ‘30s, but confused and contradictory in ways that accommodated affirmative interpretations of modern warfare and military service. Somewhat in the face of conventional wisdom, Trout shows that World War I did not destroy the glamour of war for all, or even most, Americans and enhanced it for many.

Steven Trout is a professor of English andcChair of the English Department at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. He is author/editor of several books, including Memorial Fictions:Willa Cather and the First World War and American Prose Writers of World War I: A Documentary Volume.
Title:On the Battlefield of Memory: The First World War and American Remembrance, 1919-1941Format:PaperbackDimensions:340 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:May 29, 2012Publisher:University of Alabama PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0817357238

ISBN - 13:9780817357238

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations                                                                           


Prologue: "Guide-Book Ike"

Introduction: Memory, History, and America's First World War

1. Custodians of Memory: The American Legion and Interwar Culture

2. Soldiers Well-Known and Unknown: Monuments to the American Doughboy, 1920-1941

3. Painters of Memory: Harvey Dunn, Horace Pippin, and John Steuart Curry

4. Memory's End?: Quentin Roosevelt, World War II, and America's Last Doughboy




Editorial Reviews

"A superb book that should be on the bookshelf of anyone seeking to understand the complex  political, military, and cultural legacy of  World War I on American society. Trout's work ably demonstrates the malleability of memory even when cast in stone or set in print. On the Battlefield of Memory is especially attentive to understanding the mix of nostalgia, comradeship and political activism that marked the American Legion during the interwar years. World War I divided American society and Trout is especially careful to delineate the stark divisions in how black and white Americans remembered World War I." --G. Kurt Piehler, author of Remembering War the American Way