Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stridens Skönhet och Sorg - Peter Englund

Peter Englund is an erudite sort of writer; historian, professor in narratology and outspoken permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy.
This book on the Great War classifies as new social history, focusing on 'ordinary people', rather than on deciders and royalty.
The mass of information provided is awesome! I learnt heaps of stuff, and I thought I was already tolerably well-schooled in WWI-data.
Englund tells the stories of almost two dozen real persons (based on diaries, letters etc) in chronological order, which makes it practically a no-go to remember who is who.
The thing is, though, after a couple of hundred pages, you realize how irrelevant their respective nationalities are.
Despite their different experiences, the war was an ordeal to all of them.

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