The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War - Richard Rubin

A collection of interviews with some of America’s few surviving World War One veterans, Richard Rubin’s The Last of the Doughboys (Mariner, $15.95) offers fresh perspectives on what Rubin calls “the forgotten generation and their forgotten world war.”  Supported by well-reported explorations of the social and cultural phenomena that shaped the lives of American soldiers in the First World War, Rubin’s oral histories allow a more immediate and relatable access to a conflict than even the best political or military histories do. Humanizing both the battles and their participants, The Last of the Doughboys stands out among the books published to mark the war’s centennial. It is an essential supplement for understanding the First World War.

The Last Of The Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War By Richard Rubin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544290488
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - May 6th, 2014

Year Zero: A History of 1945 - Ian Buruma

Just as a cookie could kill a starving death camp inmate whose system couldn’t handle it, so restoring normality after the insanity of world war was a tricky business. In his global survey of the devastation of 1945, Year Zero (Penguin Press, $29.95), Ian Buruma describes an almost unimaginably complex situation. The old world was in ruins, and this included both the physical infrastructure of cities and industries and the “invisible ruins” of cultures and even of civilization itself. Then there were the millions of displaced persons, the famines, epidemics, and combustible mix of festering bitterness and ready weapons. Buruma, sensitive to the wide sweep of political exigencies as well as to their very real effect on individual lives, starts with his father’s experience as a slave laborer in Germany, then chronicles survival stories of civilians and soldiers from throughout Europe and Asia. Tracking a Liberation Complex, he charts the initial “exultation,” the uses and abuses of fraternization, the complexities of repatriation, and the unwillingness of the formerly powerless—women, colonial subjects—to relinquish new-found independence. The goal, as Buruma shows with great insight and humanity, wasn’t to reassemble pre-war conditions, but to create a world that wouldn’t fall prey to its own destructive tendencies.

The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme - Joe Sacco

Some events leave you at a loss for words. Luckily, images can step in. Some of the most eloquent these days come from the pen and ink of Joe Sacco. After graphically documenting the tensions and fraught conditions of Palestine and Safe Area Gorzade, he’s turned to the Battle of the Somme. Long fascinated by a conflict so extreme that it could be considered the last of its kind—“the war to end all wars”—Sacco chose July 1, 1916 for his subject, “because that is the point where the common man could have no more illusions about the nature of modern warfare.” While Sacco’s editors suggested Matteo Pericoli’s graceful Manhattan Unfurled as a model, Sacco himself looked to the Bayeux Tapestry (which chronicled events leading to the 1066 Battle of Hastings) and adapted medieval art’s nonrealistic proportion and perspective to give his twentieth-century battle scenes a fittingly timeless and surreal tone. But the details of each scene are historically accurate, and Sacco has included six pages of annotations identifying equipment, landmarks, and activities. The Great War (W.W. Norton, $35) is a slip-cased package pairing Sacco’s stunning sixteen-page, twenty-four-foot long stream of battle with an essay by Adam Hochschild, drawn from his award-winning history, To End All Wars.

The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme By Joe Sacco, Adam Hochschild Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393088809
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 4th, 2013