Book Review: Finding Common Ground: New Directions in First World War Studies


by Jennifer D. Keene & Michael S. Neiberg, editors

Leiden/Boston: E.J. Brill, 2011. Pp. xx, 338. Illus., maps, tables., notes, biblio., index. $179.00. ISBN: 9004191828

Finding Common Ground  an important contribution to the radical re-examination of the events of 1914-1918 that since in the 1980s has led to a near total revision in our understanding of the Great War. 

Finding Common Ground opens with the thoughtful “Who Owns the Battlefield” by the editors, Professors Keene (Chapman U.) and Neiberg (Southern Miss), two of a new generation of Great War scholars.  There follow thirteen essays on the war by a number of their colleagues, such as David Zabecki and Elizabeth Greenhalgh .  The first essay, “Why are We Still Interesting in This Old War?”, by Roger Chickering, is perhaps the most important, because it reminds us that everything that has happened since 1914 is a direct consequence of that “old war”.  Other essays investigate the importance of rumor to the soldiers’ lives, the Royal Navy’s difficulty in coping with “citizen sailors”, German prisoners-of-war in Britain, the impact of the war on Indian nationalism, the experience of people under German occupation, several very telling looks at war making (German missteps in 1918, high level liaison among the allies, the American contribution to the war), German efforts to mobilize the disabled for war work, and two essays on the postwar peace movement.

Finding Common Ground, a volume in Brill’s impressive series “ History of Warfare ”, can be read with profit by any student to the Great War.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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