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The Stomach for Fighting: Food and the Soldiers of the Great War (Cultural History of Modern War) [Hardcover]

Rachel Duffett
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £63.27 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

13 Mar 2012 Cultural History of Modern War
Food is central to morale and physical performance, but also fundamental to emotional and social identities. "The Stomach for Fighting: Food and the Soldiers of the Great War" explores its significance to the British men on the Western Front, both as a narrative of military provisioning and an examination of the wider role of food in their lives. The limitations of nutritional science, transportation problems, conflicting priorities and unskilled cooks produced a diet that left much to be desired. The soldiers' accounts are replete with references to food, and this book analyses their response, an aspect ignored by the official records. While the army provided more food than many ate as civilians, calories do not address the central complexity of eating, which is rarely about nutrition alone and comes freighted with emotions that have little to do with physiological need. Even though the calorific targets were frequently met, the men remained unhappy: army food did not taste like home. It carried with it an unpalatable flavour of their new, institutionalised lives. Rations were a daily reminder of an alien military existence and a medium through which more general concerns could be articulated. Conversely, in their correspondence home, food provided a vocabulary for the expression of familial love and concern founded upon past meals and sustained by the flow of food parcels. The study of soldiers and their food offers a new path through which the social history of the war and the emotional experience of its soldiers can be interrogated.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press (13 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071908458X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719084584
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.9 x 27.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,509,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Beautifully written and utterly absorbing Family Tree Magazine, 01/11/2012 -- . Family Tree Magazine, 01/11/2012 Rachel Duffett has written a fine social history of British rank and file soldiers, or rankers, and their experiences of food during the Great War. Professor Kyri Claflin, Reviews in History, 18 October 2012 -- Professor Kyri Claflin,. Reviews in History ..provides a rich and valuable contribution to the cultural history of the Great War. -- May Rosenthal Sloan. War in History 2013: 20

About the Author

Rachel Duffett teaches History at the University of Essex and UCS, Ipswich

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new aspect of war 13 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book on an aspect of military life which has been neglected. Battles and medals and uniforms may be glamourous, but no army could survive let alone fight well without adequate food. It is meticulously researched and well written.
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