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Citizen Soldiers: The Liverpool Territorials in the First World War (Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare) [Hardcover]

Helen B. McCartney
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Book Description

3 Nov 2005 Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare (Book 22)
The popular image of the British soldier in the First World War is of a passive victim, caught up in events beyond his control, and isolated from civilian society. This 2005 book offers a different vision of the soldier's experience of war. Using letters and official sources relating to Liverpool units, Helen McCartney shows how ordinary men were able to retain their civilian outlook and use it to influence their experience in the trenches. These citizen soldiers came to rely on local, civilian loyalties and strong links with home to bolster their morale, whilst their civilian backgrounds helped them challenge those in command if they felt they were being treated unfairly. The book examines the soldier not only in his military context but in terms of his social and cultural life. It will appeal to anyone wishing to understand how the British soldier thought and behaved during the First World War.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (3 Nov 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521848008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521848008
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,514,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Review of the hardback: '… is of much more than local interest.' Times Literary Supplement

Review of the hardback: '… excellent … an exemplary blending of social and military history … this is important, 'cutting edge' history.' Military Illustrated

Review of the hardback: '… not short of historiographical ambition … On the war itself, McCartney appears exemplary in her range of reference and close historiographical engagement …' Northern History

Review of the hardback: 'This is not just another rehash of the exploits of the dehumanised, oppressed, passive British Tommy slogging through the mud of Flanders, that field, like the trenches, is full almost to overcrowding. Instead McCartney considers how the ordinary men involved retained their civilian outlook, their local connections, their social status throughout those terrible years and, in the vast majority of cases, if they were lucky enough to escape unscathed, picked up the threads of their pre-war life … Helen B. McCartney has produced a first class work using not only official sources, as would be expected, but also the letters and diaries of the men involved … The book benefits from page by page footnotes and comprehensive bibliography, whilst the photographs, tables and maps only add to our pleasure and understanding. …For anyone wishing to study the social and cultural history of the British soldier in the first World War this book opens up a new dimension in our understanding and is required reading, chapter 9 The Aftermath of War especially so.' Open History: The Journal of the Open University History Society

Review of the hardback: 'Citizen Soldiers is one of the rare publications to breach this divide, combining detailed knowledge of military organization and structure with a careful consideration of the impact of the war on society and class and regional identity … It is … the job of good historical studies to ask as many questions as they answer. McCartney's careful, detailed and fascinating study of the experiences and identities of the Liverpool battalions in the war years deserves to be accompanied by further regional studies, in order that we may build a more detailed understanding of the lives of those who experienced the Great War.' Reviews in History

Review of the hardback: ' … this is a subject which deserves a wider readership and Citizen Soldiers is an excellent start; may it inspire urban and local historians to re-examine the relationship between the city and its citizens …' Urban History

Book Description

Citizen Soldiers uses letters and official sources to investigate the experience of the British soldier in the First World War. It casts light on the soldier's relationship with home, his attitudes towards war, command and discipline within the army and the importance of local identity to military morale.

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First Sentence
The First World War drew ordinary British men into an army that by 1918 numbered over 5 million soldiers. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have recommended this book so often that I thought it was time to write a review. For such an excellent, academic book, this is comparatively and reasonably priced and well worth the money. For anyone interested in the History of the Liverpool Territorials before and during the First World War, or indeed any Territorial unit, this is a must read. My own interests are the Liverpool Scottish. A fascinating read and highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Having read pretty much all the books on the First World War published in the last 20 years I would unhesitatingly select 'Citizen Soldiers' as one of the best. It combines meticulous research at a local level with a broad thesis regarding the nature of those who fought in Britain's army. Following the lead of scholars such as John Bourne and Gary Sheffield, McCartney argues that the men who joined the Liverpool territorials remained civilians in khaki who maintained their close ties with home throughout the conflict. Her scholarship helps demolish the idea that civilians and soldiers were alienated from each other, that the troops resented those who remained at home and that the 'truth about the war' from hidden from the British public. Elegantly written this is a book that will be enjoyed by the general reader as well as specialist historians and helps further dispel some of the myths of the war.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars I have recommended this book so often that I thought it was ... 23 Oct 2014
By Caryl Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I have recommended this book so often that I thought it was time to write a review. For such an excellent and well researched academic book, this is comparatively reasonably priced and well worth the money. For anyone interested in the History of the Liverpool Territorials before and during the First World War, or indeed any Territorial unit, this is a must read. My own interests are the Liverpool Scottish. A fascinating read and highly recommended
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