- Prime Student members get £10 off with a spend of £40 or more on Books. Enter code SAVE10 at checkout. Enter code SAVE10 at checkout. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
The Unquiet Western Front: Britain's Role in Literature and History Hardcover – 11 Jul 2002
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
'… much needed … Professor Brian Bond makes a thought-provoking bid to claw the First World War back to history, away from popular myth … Brian Bond's arresting, sensible book, concentrating in 100-odd lucid pages the historical evidence against the myth, is a gift to teachers and a welcome antidote to the distorted popular image of the first world war. It may be long before historians win their battle, but The Unquiet Western Front shows where the lines should be drawn.' The Spectator
'The Unquiet Western Front … is an effective history of changing social attitudes in twentieth- century Britain.' Writer's News
'The lectures must have been entertaining. The book version is eminently readable and always stimulating.' The Times Literary Supplement
'Anyone who wants to reflect about the Great War and its role in shaping modern British thinking about war must read [this].' History Today
'… an important critique of the anti-war culture that is so influential in framing popular suppositions today.' Royal United Services Institute Journal
'… the subtlety and persuasiveness of his argument and the richness and range of his supporting material is impossible to condense … No one interested in the history of 1914–1918 can afford not to read and ponder this book. It opens windows into so many more places than its title might suggest.' The Society for Army Historical Research Journal
'… a well documented and carefully considered attack on the treatment of the First World War by the literary world and the populist media …' The Salisbury Review
'The Unquiet Western Front is a concisely compelling defence of the British war effort … [it] is required reading for anyone who wishes to understand scholarship on the Great War as we approach the ninetieth anniversary of the war's outbreak.' BBC History Magazine
'… useful and provocative …' Cultural and Social History
Britain's role in the First World War has been portrayed mainly through literature, films and plays, in most cases with a marked unhistorical, anti-war spirit. This 2002 book follows the controversy from 1918 to the present, and concludes that historians are finally permitting the war to be placed in proper perspective.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Bond's target is not the trench poets and other contemporary writers but today's historians. He rightly points out that history, as we understand it--as the historian makes it--is not the stuff of individual experience . This view does not invalidate the suffering of an individual soldier, but it would invalidate any history of the war that limited its subject-matter to the collective suffering of all the soldiers--even if the war for all soldiers had been all suffering, which Bond denies. History must take in the larger picture, which encompasses the larger world beyond the trenches.
This is great stuff. And the book is a brilliant read and a good fund of information (though more of value for its argumentation than for any new information the reader may get out of it). Without being callous (though no doubt some will look for callousness and find it) Bond firmly takes our focus away from the "traditional" treatment of the war and forces us to look at it from a more professional perspective.
Unfortunately he skirts too close to polemicism for comfort. By refuting the traditional view he is all but forced to identify with those we might call, with respect, the "reactionaries"--John Terraine, for instance--whose contention all along is that Britain did a fine job, with all that follows from this thesis, notably, that Haig was a great man or at least a damn good one. And Bond does indeed offer evidence that no one could have done more: that there was a technological gap that only was closed in the Second War and that it was this technological gap--primarily in battlefield communications--that led inevitably to the horror for the soldier that the Great War often was.
Fine. But Bond's stance leads him to weaken his own thesis by rubbishing those who would oppose him. Many of these might deserve to be treated as less than professional historians, but none deserve to be treated with contempt, and a one-line dismissal of Denis Winter simply will not do. In HAIG'S COMMAND Winter raises serious questions (even if that book also raises certain questions about its own thesis). The fact that Winter would disagree with Bond ought to draw out the most professional, not the most dismissive, in Bond's treatment of Winter's disturbing book.
If you know your History, you may say that the series of battles known as the Great War finished on 11th November 1918. In fact, the fighting over the perception of the war is as old as the conflict itself. Numerous poets, novelists, memoirists, historians, playwrights and scriptwriters, together with film and television directors have sought to portray the war as a futile massacre, where stupid chateau generals led millions of brave Tommy Atkins to certain death in the muddy trenches of the Western Front. The 'Lions Led by Donkeys' approach, beloved of certain 'historical' writers, has resulted in the cult of the ‘million dead’ eclipsing the real reasons why Britain went to war in 1914. Not only that, the futility angle does a great disservice to the five million volunteers and conscirpts of the British Expeditionary Force who grew in strength and expertise to defeat the Germans in 1918. For those who remember Geoffrey Palmer’s Field Marshal Haig sweeping up toy soldiers with his dustpan and brush in the 1989 BBC comedy 'Blackadder' or of battle casualty figures on cricket scoreboards on Brighton Pier in the 1960s film 'Oh! What a Lovely War', Brian Bond will remove the scales from your eyes.
The book is a succinct and comprehensive introduction to this area, deconstructing the development of selected Great War myths in just 101 pages. Professor Bond has successfully attempted to return the war to its rightful historical context, by getting to the root of the most persistent war myths that have been perpetuated by literature, visual art, film and television from the inter-war period via the 1960s and 1990s. In my opinion, it is the most fascinating study of this subject area since Samuel Hynes published 'A War Imagined' in 1991, Bond's work being more accessible to those outside academia, to be easily digested by those reading for general interest. It is certainly a book that will prove required reading for any discerning student of the cultural effects of the Great War on modern British society.
However, Mr. Bond's major target is the "literary myth" of the Great War - summarised by the "Blackadder Goes Forth" view of events. Here he scores a bullseye as his arguments are both compelling and highly entertaining. His command of his subject matter and his easy to read style captured my attention immediately and kept it until the very end.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
"Military historians ...Read more