Dynamic of Destruction

Dynamic of Destruction : Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War

3.77 (44 ratings by Goodreads)
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On 26 August 1914 the world-famous university library in the Belgian town of Louvain was looted and destroyed by German troops. The international community reacted in horror - 'Holocaust at Louvain' proclaimed the Daily Mail - and the behaviour of the Germans at Louvain came to be seen as the beginning of a different style of war, without the rules that had governed military conflict up to that point - a more total war, in which enemy civilians and their entire culture were now 'legitimate' targets. Yet the destruction at Louvain was simply one symbolic moment in a wider wave of cultural destruction and mass killing that swept Europe in the era of the First World War. Using a wide range of examples and eye-witness accounts from across Europe at this time, award-winning historian Alan Kramer paints a picture of an entire continent plunging into a chilling new world of mass mobilization, total warfare, and the celebration of nationalist or ethnic violence - often directed expressly at the enemy's civilian population.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 156 x 236 x 38mm | 821g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • numerous halftones
  • 0192803425
  • 9780192803429
  • 997,868

Review quote

This stimulating, scholarly and shrewd book is as rich in original ideas as it is energetic in its revisionism. Simon Sebag-Montefiore, New York Times Review of Books [Kramer's] material is as fascinating as it is depressing. Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs A sobering book with a bleak message, but one that needs to be heard. Malcolm Brown, BBC History Magazine. d No serious student of the history of the twentieth century can afford to ignore this book. Jay Winter, author of 'Remembering War'
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About Alan Kramer

Alan Kramer is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern History and fellow of Trinity College Dublin. He is the co-author of German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial.
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Table of contents

1. The Burning of Louvain; 2. The Radicalization of Warfare; 3. The Warriors; 4. German Singularity?; 5. Culture and War; 6. Trench Warfare and its Consequences; 7. War, bodies, and minds; 8. Victory or trauma?; Conclusion; Historiographical Note; Bibliography
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Rating details

44 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 16% (7)
4 52% (23)
3 25% (11)
2 7% (3)
1 0% (0)
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