Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
Evidence, History and the Great War: Historians and the Impact of 1914-18

View Table of Contents

See Related
History Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Evidence, History and the Great War

Historians and the Impact of 1914-18

Edited by Gail Braybon†

256 pages, 10 illus., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-724-2 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (November 2003)

ISBN  978-1-57181-801-0 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (December 2004)

eISBN 978-1-78238-183-9 eBook

Hb Pb   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…a series of ten stimulating essays on differing aspects of World War One, loosely, but not exclusively, linked around the theme of the role played by women. As such it is an important collection, which has already gone into a second printing. While some of the essays sum up the current state of play after decades of historical controversy, others are pioneering ventures, opening up new areas for further research. As the editor says quite accurately in her introduction (p. 8): ‘the essays in this book bring something fresh to debates about the war’.”
Nordost Archiv

"…the student of the Great War and gender is well served, and Braybon’s introduction provides an excellent overview of the various historiographical themes, whilst her footnotes provide a useful guide to further reading."

"Readers will not be disappointed by this scholarly, yet accessible, collection of essays."
Centre for First World War Studies


In the English-speaking world the Great War maintains a tenacious grip on the public imagination, and also continues to draw historians to an event which has been interpreted variously as a symbol of modernity, the midwife to the twentieth century and an agent of social change. Although much 'common knowledge' about the war and its aftermath has included myth, simplification and generalisation, this has often been accepted uncritically by popular and academic writers alike.

While Britain may have suffered a surfeit of war books, many telling much the same story, there is far less written about the impact of the Great War in other combatant nations. Its history was long suppressed in both fascist Italy and the communist Soviet Union: only recently have historians of Russia begun to examine a conflict which killed, maimed and displaced so many millions. Even in France and Germany the experience of 1914-18 has often been overshadowed by the Second World War.

The war's social history is now ripe for reassessment and revision. The essays in this volume incorporate a European perspective, engage with the historiography of the war, and consider how the primary textural, oral and pictorial evidence has been used - or abused. Subjects include the politics of shellshock, the impact of war on women, the plight of refugees, food distribution in Berlin and portrait photography, all of which illuminate key debates in war history.

Gail Braybon† was an independent historian. She was the author of Women Workers in the First World War and also wrote, with Penny Summerfield, Out of the Cage: Women's Experiences in Two World Wars.

Subject: WWI History
Area: Europe


List of Illustrations
Note on Terminology


Chapter 1. ‘Though in a Picture Only’: Portrait Photography and the Commemoration of the First World War
Catherine Moriarty

Chapter 2. Making Spectaculars: Museums and how we remember Gender in Wartime
Deborah Thom

Chapter 3. British ‘War Enthusiasm’ in 1914: a Reassessment
Adrian Gregory

Chapter 4. Winners or Losers: Women’s Symbolic Role in the War Story
Gail Braybon

Chapter 5. Liberating Women? Examining Gender, Morality and Sexuality in First World War Britain and France
Susan Grayzel

Chapter 6. The Great War and Gender Relations: the Case of French Women and the First World War Revisited
James McMillan

Chapter 7. Mental Cases: British Shellshock and the Politics of Interpretation
Laurinda Stryker

Chapter 8. Food and the German Home Front: Evidence from Berlin
Keith Allen

Chapter 9. The Epic and the Domestic: Women and War in Russia, 1914–1917
Peter Gatrell

Chapter 10. Italian Women During the Great War
Simonetta Ortaggi

Notes on Contributors

Back to Top