With the 100 year anniversary of World War I approaching, examination of this sometimes little understood event may well become a popular topic of study for the everyday reader. Adam Hochschild’s To End All Wars is an excellent start if one would like to broaden understanding of the war that was often glossed over in our American history studies.
His chronicling of the war’s history in Great Britain might be a new revelation. The upper class privilege and cavalier attitude to the horrors and senselessness of the war, contrasted with the sacrifice, then disillusionment of the everyday man was an eye-opener to me. It has quite a cast of characters from suffragettes, conscientious objectors, and inept generals to the poor suffering foot soldier. The detail is quite comprehensive and not a quick read, but the narrative becomes a page turning saga.
Continuing beyond War Horse and past the romanticism of Downton Abbey, anyone interested in British society at the height of its world influence will find this book compelling and a must read for World War I followers.