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Experience of a Lifetime

The First World War is widely conceived as a pointless conflict that destroyed a generation. Petty squabbles between emperors pushed naive young men into a nightmare of mud and blood that killed millions and left scarred and embittered survivors.However, the ongoing reinterpretation of the First World War reveals that matters were rather more nuanced and complex. Hardship and death were all too common, but there were positive experiences, too. Vast numbers of people, for example, travelled to new parts of the world and encountered new cultures, inspiring a sense of wonder and respect. Military tactics were improved, and great military commanders of the inter-war and Second World War periods came to prominence during the First World War. The conflict also had a formative influence on politicians, writers, artists, union leaders, businessmen and some ethnic minorities, who used their participation to press for equal rights and full citizenship. This book's 16 chapters, written by a range of leading New Zealand and international historians, explains how.
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* Part of the high-profile and well-regarded Centenary History Programme publishing seriesLively, engaging pieces by a range of expert historiansSheds light on little-known individuals and groups of soldiersFully illustrated throughoutTakes a holistic attitude to the experience of the First World War while not shying away from its horrors

About the Author

John Crawford is the New Zealand Defence Force Historian. He is a member of the Governance Group of the First World War Centennial History Programme, and has written on many aspects of the history of the New Zealand Armed Forces and defence policy.David Littlewood is a Lecturer in History at Massey University. His research focuses on the impacts of the First World War on New Zealand and British society. He has been published in War in History and has presented his research at various specialist conferences.James Watson is Associate Professor in History at Massey University. He has taught a wide range of papers, principally in New Zealand and international history, since arriving at Massey in 1987. His most recent book was W.F. Massey: New Zealand and he is currently writing a book on the New Zealand home-front, as part of the First World War Centenary History series.

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