Centre for the History of War and Society

2013

Friend cover

The Home Front

Dewi Lewis Publishing, October 2013
Melanie Friend

The Home Front examines the relationship between leisure and the military in the UK, in particular the air shows that take place at Royal Air Force bases and in the skies above our seaside resorts. Air shows are a fun day out for the family. On the ground, tank rides are on offer and armed forces’ recruitment drives afford children an opportunity to indulge in their fascination with guns. There are elements of fantasy and the carnivalesque here and a clear disconnect between this ‘play’ and the actual effect of weapons. In Friend’s photographs the beach and the landscape become uneasy, surreal spaces, temporarily militarized by the fleeting presence and roar of fighter jets. Civilian aircraft displays are interwoven with military ones, whilst nostalgia for World War II is evoked by the presence of ‘war birds’ such as the Lancaster bomber, only to be followed by the ‘shock and awe’ displays of contemporary fighter jets such as the Tornado, recently deployed in Libya and Afghanistan. By contrast, the trade days of the larger air shows such as Farnborough promote military hardware in a more direct way, while deals are negotiated behind the closed doors of the hospitality chalets.

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Siebrecht Book Cover

The Aesthetics of Loss: German Women's Art of the First World War

Oxford University Press, September 2013
Claudia Siebrecht

The Aesthetics of Loss is a cultural history of German women's art of the First World War that locates the artists' rich visual testimony in the context of the civilian experience of war and wartime loss. Drawing on a fascinating body of visual sources produced throughout the war years, Claudia Siebrecht examines the thematic evolution of women's art from expressions of support for the war effort to more nuanced and ambivalent testimonies of loss and grief. Many of the images are stark woodcuts, linocuts, and lithographs of great iconographical power that acted as narrative tools to deal with the novel, unsettling, and often traumatic experience of war.

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Langhamer Book Cover

The English in Love: The Intimate Story of an Emotional Revolution

Oxford University Press, August 2013
Claire Langhamer

Love has a history. It has meant different things to different people at different moments and has served different purposes. This book tells the story of love at a crucial point, a moment when the emotional landscape changed dramatically for large numbers of people. It is a story based in England, but informed by America, and covers the period from the end of the First World War until the break-up of The Beatles.

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Norris Book Cover

Land of Progress: Palestine in the Age of Colonial Development, 1905-1948

Oxford University Press, 2013
Jacob Norris

Histories of Palestine in the pre-1948 period usually assume the emergent Arab-Zionist conflict to be the central axis around which all change revolves. In Land of Progress Jacob Norris suggests an alternative historical vocabulary is needed to broaden our understanding of the region's recent past. In particular, for the architects of empire and their agents on the ground, Palestine was conceived primarily within a developmental discourse that pervaded colonial practice from the turn of the twentieth century onwards. A far cry from the post-World War II focus on raising living standards, colonial development in the early twentieth century was more interested in infrastructure and the exploitation of natural resources.

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Cook Book Cover

Secession Winter: When the Union fell apart.

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013
Robert Cook et. al eds.

Politicians and opinion leaders on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line struggled to formulate coherent responses to the secession of the deep South states. The Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in mid-April 1861 triggered civil war and the loss of four upper South states from the Union. The essays by three senior historians in Secession Winter explore the robust debates that preceded these events.

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