SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century

Norton. May 2014. 560p. notes. index. ISBN 9780393088632. $32.50. HIST
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Reynolds (international history, Cambridge Univ.; From Munich to Pearl Harbor) presents a British-centered and encompassing look at World War I and its global impact. Alternating between economic, historiographical, political, cultural, revolutionary, and literary motifs, this work (winner of the 2014 PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize) reasserts and clarifies the influence the years from 1914 to 1918 had on the modern world. Reynolds deftly blends a variety of thematic approaches and viewpoints, drawing together resources and documents from across the globe to present a picture of a world impacted by and reacting to this massively altering event. The author's use of Britain as the focus for his discussions is slightly overwhelming in the earlier sections for someone not well versed in British politics of the early 1900s and 1920s, but it ultimately provides a connecting thread for the book. Intriguing and well written, each of the chapters could easily form a stand-alone work.
VERDICT Especially relevant on the eve of the 100th anniversary of World War I, this title collects decades of research, literature, film, and understanding to provide a reasoned, compelling take on a conflict that changed the face of the world. It will be appreciated by armchair historians and academics alike. [See Prepub Alert 11/3/13; for more nonfiction reviews on World War I, see "The Great War" roundup, LJ 4/15/14 or go to ow.ly/waeq8.]

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