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New book by Cardiff historian explores cultural influence on popular views of World War One

30 September 2014

This latest work British Culture & the First World War: Experience, Representation and Memory by Cardiff Senior Lecturer in Modern European History Dr Toby Thacker explores how music, art and other forms of culture created from the time of the Great war have shaped views of the conflict.

'In this latest book I explore how The First World War has been mythologized since 1918. The many paradigmatic views of it - that it was pointless, that brave soldiers were needlessly sacrificed - are deeply embedded in the British consciousness', says Dr Thacker. 'More than in any other country, these collective British memories were influenced by the experiences and the work of writers, painters and musicians.'

This book revisits the British experience of the War through the eyes and ears of a diverse group of carefully selected novelists, poets, composers and painters – internationally recognised figures such as Rupert Brooke, Vera Brittain, Paul Nash, Edward Elgar and TE Lawrence. It examines how they reacted to and portrayed their experiences in the trenches on the Western Front, in distant theatres of war and on the home front, in words, pictures and music that would have a profound influence on subsequent British perceptions of the war.

Dr Thacker is the author of Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death (2009), Music after Hitler, 1945-1955(2007) and The End of the Third Reich: Defeat, Denazification, and Nuremberg, 1944–1946 (2006).

This latest book, published by Bloomsbury, also complements his module Into the Vortex available to second year undergraduates.

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