Book Review: Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin, 1914-1918, Vol. II, A Cultural History


by edited by Jay Winter and Jean-Louis Robert

New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Pp. xiii, 545. Illus, notes, biblio., index. $118.00. ISBN: 978-0-521-87043-6

The second volume of a ground-breaking two volume work that seeks to explore the life and experiences of the three wartime capitals, the theme of this impressive book is to be found in the Introduction, which is titled, "The Practice of Metropolitan Life in Wartime." 

The book then examines different aspects of urban life in the three war capitals, noting similarities and differences, with some effort to analyze the reasons for these. The subject of the opening chapter may seem curious, devoted as it is to the railroad stations, yet it becomes clear that they were not only critical to urban life, but essential to the war effort as well; consider how often they appear in films about the war. The chapters that follow address the ways in which the war affected education, the home and family, street life, entertainment, religious and political life, and the city as a node of medical treatment, political life, memory and commemoration, and, ultimately, burial, all against the background of the war.

A valuable read for anyone interested in the war or war and society.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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