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The Beauty and the Sorrow

An Intimate History of the First World War

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


An intimate narrative history of World War I told through the stories of twenty men and women from around the globe--a powerful, illuminating, heart-rending picture of what the war was really like.
In this masterful book, renowned historian Peter Englund describes this epoch-defining event by weaving together accounts of the average man or woman who experienced it. Drawing on the diaries, journals, and letters of twenty individuals from Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Venezuela, and the United States, Englund’s collection of these varied perspectives describes not a course of events but "a world of feeling." Composed in short chapters that move between the home front and the front lines, The Beauty and Sorrow brings to life these twenty particular people and lets them speak for all who were shaped in some way by the War, but whose voices have remained unheard.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 29, 2011 – In a brilliant feat of retrospective journalism, leading Swedish historian Englund allows 20 individuals during WWI to convey their experiences through diaries and letters: among them, an English nurse in the Russian army, a British infantryman awarded the Victoria Cross, a German seaman, and a Venezuelan cavalryman in the Ottoman army. Englund s deft collation provides insights into more than the carnage; for example, a French infantryman at Verdun knows, despite lower figures in newspaper reports, that he went into battle with 100 men and only 30 returned. Lacking only a Turkish Muslim view, this book fleshes out the grim statistics of the Great War. Writing in the present tense as though immersed in the events, Englund describes typhus and malnutrition, the Ottoman slaughter of Armenians, French troops mutinies, erosion of European colonialism in Africa, and governments suppression of the extent of their armies losses. The eloquence of everyday participants a German schoolgirl describes the war as a ghost in grey rags, a skull with maggots crawling out of it will link the reader to the era when the origins of the ensuing century s conflicts became apparent. 32 pages of photos.

Customer Reviews

Beauty and the Sorrow

This is the best overview of WWI that I have ever read. If you want to follow battles and strategies, dates and troop statistics, then you should read elsewhere. But if you want to understand the war, then you should read this book.

The Beauty and the Sorrow
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: Nov 08, 2011
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 592 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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