Over The Top: The Great War And Juvenile Literature In Britain

Hardcover | October 31, 2004

byMichael Paris

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During the Great War, books and stories for young men were frequently used as unofficial propaganda for recruitment and to sell the war to British youth as a moral crusade. Until now, this literature has been neglected by academics, but the image of the war these fictions created was remarkably enduring and, despite the appearance of post-war literature of disillusioned veterans, continued to shape the attitudes of the young well into the 1930s. This is the first detailed account of how adventure fiction represented the Great War for British boys between 1914 and the end of the war. Paris examines how such literature explained the causes of the war to boys and girls and how it encouraged young men to participate in the noble crusade on the Western Front and in other theaters. He explores the imagery of the trenches, the war in the air, and the nature of war in the Middle East and Africa. He also details the links between popular writers and the official literary propaganda campaign. The study concludes by looking at how these heroic images remained in print, enduring well into the inter-war years.

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During the Great War, books and stories for young men were frequently used as unofficial propaganda for recruitment and to sell the war to British youth as a moral crusade. Until now, this literature has been neglected by academics, but the image of the war these fictions created was remarkably enduring and, despite the appearance of p...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:216 pages, 9.28 × 6.26 × 0.89 inPublished:October 31, 2004Publisher:Praeger PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0275975185

ISBN - 13:9780275975180

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?[M]akes a convincing case for continuity in the way that authors of juvenile fiction, some of them war veterans themselves by 1918, presented the Great War to British adolescents, rather than any great cultural shift or move towards "disillusionment." As the nature of the real war changed, a few working-class heroes appeared in their writings, or even a few heroines as nurses and spies, and their depictions of conflict became more violent. But the basic themes of a good war fought by young heroes for a just cause did not change. Further, these books continued to sell well and to be presented as school prizes up to the outbreak of the Second World War and even beyond. As the author concludes, British conventions for presenting fictionalised, warfare to the young were tested by the Great War, together with the existing stereotype of idealised masculinity, but the war experience modified them slightly rather than destroying them outright.??The Journal of Military History