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Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History
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Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  291 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Jay Winter's powerful study of the 'collective remembrance' of the Great War offers a major reassessment of one of the critical episodes in the cultural history of the twentieth century. Dr Winter looks anew at the culture of commemoration and the ways in which communities endeavoured to find collective solace after 1918. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning is a profound an ...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published March 28th 1998 by Cambridge University Press (first published October 27th 1995)
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3.76  · 
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 ·  291 ratings  ·  16 reviews


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Malcolm
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the things that I have noticed since moving to Europe is how different the First World War looks here from the one I grew up with in New Zealand. All around are solemn memorials, but here we walk on the places the war happened, and its memorialisation is pervasive. These memorials are not just things in squares, in fields, or mounted on walls, but are in films, novels, poems, and much of our daily experience. Winter makes a strong case for understanding large parts of 20th century Europea ...more
Michael
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: European Historians, World War I Historians, History grad students
Recommended to Michael by: Karen Hagemann
It has become a running joke in my reviews that every time I review a book from graduate school that contains the word “memory” in the title, I begin by saying that I don’t remember reading it. Happily, this book breaks that tradition, because as I picked it up and looked at my extensive highlighting, it quickly came back to me in full, or at least as fully as I had time to read it in those busy years. Finally, a book on memory that is actually memorable! I’m tempted to say that is because this ...more
Joseph Hirsch
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an incredibly focused, well-organized, and accessible piece of scholarship that sets itself a task that is straightforward, though far from simple. Its goal is to trace the cultural artifacts that wars produce- the statues, the books, the memorials, and the less tangible but still vital struggles over how the war's meaning should be interpreted.

Most of the book focuses on the struggle to interpret the war while it was being fought, and in the immediate wake of the war, with the battle o
...more
Shane Gower
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a well researched and argued book about the way Europe, in particular, mourned and remembered the Great War in the years that followed. Some parts were a bit dense, but I enjoyed it overall. The sections on cinema were fascinating (I was riveted by the analysis of Gance's J'accuse)! Meanwhile I found the section on poetry hard to get through. It's clear that Winter has done a tremendous amount of research!
Lauren
Jul 20, 2009 added it
Shelves: history
Disappointingly boring. A few interesting historical observations but mostly tepid prose and superficial analysis. Maybe his other book is better.
Nicholas
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: memory, history
Interesting, shows that reactions to the war were not all that modern...although, the two halves are a bit disjointed.
Chris Fong
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
A bit of a slog at times - very dense, I skimmed a lot. Still, an interesting argument, and clearly understood.
Cadie Sommer
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
It was an interesting view on how people interpreted the Great war though art, poetry, film, and writing.
John David
“My Peter, I intend to try to be faithful … What does that mean? To love my country in my own way as you loved it in your way. And to make this love work. To look at the young people and be faithful to them. Besides that I shall do my work, the same work, my child, which you were denied. I want to honor God in my work, too, which means I want to be honest, true and sincere … When I try to be like that, dear Peter, I ask you then to be around me, help me, show yourself to me. I know you are there ...more
Jo
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although let down by its copy editor, I enjoyed this book, if you can say that about a book about war and bereavement. It was a fascinating piece of cultural history, which I felt I needed to read, because of the research I am presently doing beyond my own culture. It is good to be reminded sometimes of my own internal/cultural heritage, and to think about how this shapes my responses and assumptions as I try to understand some of the ways of dealing with mass bereavements/traumas here in South ...more
Andrew Nolan
I liked the chapters in spiritualism and representations of the apocalypse in art.

Overall think I probably disagree with some of the authors ideas of traditions in the face of Modernity. A lot of seemingly traditional responses to Modernity can not exist without Modernity to react against, and thus are not really "traditions", itself a problematic concept at the best of times.

I was surprised at the brevity of the conclusion to the book.

Would probably work well if read in conjunction with Robe
...more
Melanie
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very interesting consideration of the cultural, societal and psychological ramifications of WWI through the lenses of mourning and memorialization. I really enjoyed this, although I found the first half of the book (mourning) more compelling than the second (memory).
Sarah
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Frustratingly uneven.
TheMadHistorian
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Sep 29, 2011
Brian
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Kathryn Marie
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book over 10 years ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Beyond the specific focus on the Great War I was very interested in the discussion of sacred and hallowed ground, and memory. Winter has done lots of good work here and I plan on returning to this book often.
Lois
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