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Remembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the 20th Century

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This is a masterful volume on remembrance and war in the twentieth century. Jay Winter locates the fascination with the subject of memory within a long-term trajectory that focuses on the Great War. Images, languages, and practices that appeared during and after the two world wars focused on the need to acknowledge the victims of war and shaped the ways in which future con This is a masterful volume on remembrance and war in the twentieth century. Jay Winter locates the fascination with the subject of memory within a long-term trajectory that focuses on the Great War. Images, languages, and practices that appeared during and after the two world wars focused on the need to acknowledge the victims of war and shaped the ways in which future conflicts were imagined and remembered. At the core of the “memory boom” is an array of collective meditations on war and the victims of war, Winter says. The book begins by tracing the origins of contemporary interest in memory, then describes practices of remembrance that have linked history and memory, particularly in the first half of the twentieth century. The author also considers “theaters of memory”—film, television, museums, and war crimes trials in which the past is seen through public representations of memories. The book concludes with reflections on the significance of these practices for the cultural history of the twentieth century as a whole.


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This is a masterful volume on remembrance and war in the twentieth century. Jay Winter locates the fascination with the subject of memory within a long-term trajectory that focuses on the Great War. Images, languages, and practices that appeared during and after the two world wars focused on the need to acknowledge the victims of war and shaped the ways in which future con This is a masterful volume on remembrance and war in the twentieth century. Jay Winter locates the fascination with the subject of memory within a long-term trajectory that focuses on the Great War. Images, languages, and practices that appeared during and after the two world wars focused on the need to acknowledge the victims of war and shaped the ways in which future conflicts were imagined and remembered. At the core of the “memory boom” is an array of collective meditations on war and the victims of war, Winter says. The book begins by tracing the origins of contemporary interest in memory, then describes practices of remembrance that have linked history and memory, particularly in the first half of the twentieth century. The author also considers “theaters of memory”—film, television, museums, and war crimes trials in which the past is seen through public representations of memories. The book concludes with reflections on the significance of these practices for the cultural history of the twentieth century as a whole.

55 review for Remembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the 20th Century

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Cornelius

    Jay Winter turned from a professional concentration in social history to an interest in cultural history late in his career. This book, Remembering War, essentially sums up his findings regarding the role of memory in the practices of historical remembrance. He locates the origins of the "memory boom" of the twentieth century and beyond in the responses, public and private, to the destruction and deaths generated by the Great War. He believes it was in many ways the template for historical remem Jay Winter turned from a professional concentration in social history to an interest in cultural history late in his career. This book, Remembering War, essentially sums up his findings regarding the role of memory in the practices of historical remembrance. He locates the origins of the "memory boom" of the twentieth century and beyond in the responses, public and private, to the destruction and deaths generated by the Great War. He believes it was in many ways the template for historical remembrance associated with Holocaust, and, although he gives it relatively scant attention, for the Vietnam War as well. Winter's minor problem is his prose, which can be turgid and fitful. What is more troublesome is his insistence on according specialized definitions to commonplace words that in many ways distort their definitions and as a result actually disrupt communication with the reader. That doesn't mean his terminology is without its uses. It has value--perhaps even a great deal of value--in giving us something to fetch hold on with slippery ideas such as "memory," "collective memory," "national memory," "fictive kinship," "remembrance," "historial," and "moral witness." Otherwise, his greatest contribution, I think, is to note the mutating nature of memory and remembrance. Not only among the witnesses themselves but subsequent generations. All of which goes to make monuments, literature, films, and museums ever changing in regards to the reception of meaning of their contents.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zoheb Mashiur

    Difficult, circuitous prose prone to going off into tangents. Chapters suffer from an unusual combination of hyper-focusing on individual stories while eliding over rigorous analysis of broader questions and controversies of memory. It has its moments for sure, particularly in the chapter on War Letters, but overall Prof. Winter's book is more effort than it is worth. Difficult, circuitous prose prone to going off into tangents. Chapters suffer from an unusual combination of hyper-focusing on individual stories while eliding over rigorous analysis of broader questions and controversies of memory. It has its moments for sure, particularly in the chapter on War Letters, but overall Prof. Winter's book is more effort than it is worth.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David

    Only got one-third of it read and had to return to library. Didn't like it much anyway. Only got one-third of it read and had to return to library. Didn't like it much anyway.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    In all honesty I was disappointed in this book. I was excited to read it because I am fascinated by how different interpretations of memory reflect upon different subjects. My main issue was that it was just so dry and there were tangents taken that I had no idea how they were going to tie back to the main concepts. It was not what I was expecting at all. It also required the reader to have a background in WWI history, which I do not really have at all so it was confusing at points about what he In all honesty I was disappointed in this book. I was excited to read it because I am fascinated by how different interpretations of memory reflect upon different subjects. My main issue was that it was just so dry and there were tangents taken that I had no idea how they were going to tie back to the main concepts. It was not what I was expecting at all. It also required the reader to have a background in WWI history, which I do not really have at all so it was confusing at points about what he was discussing. I do have to also say that I read this for a class I am taking.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Jay Winter is a proponent of the new school of thought that museums should be interactive learning environments rather than cold housing areas for impersonal artifacts. This book is a great exploration of the different types of remembrance and memory, with emphasis on WWI.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

    A rehashing of his other writings...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Winter is a great writer and made the subject of war and war memory much more interesting than I thought it would be.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dray

    Dang, this book was difficult. Good information, but pure torture.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michael Brock

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Talboys

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mina Goldman

  12. 5 out of 5

    The Genocide Report

  13. 5 out of 5

    Olaf Verboon

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dakoda Parnell

  15. 5 out of 5

    Raully

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Casey

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  20. 4 out of 5

    George Siehl

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Flauraud

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Patterson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan Elaine

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daisy R

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

  28. 5 out of 5

    Guido

  29. 5 out of 5

    Umberto Rossi

  30. 4 out of 5

    Devereaux Library SDSM&T

  31. 5 out of 5

    Charles Nicholas Saenz

  32. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  33. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  34. 4 out of 5

    christopher

  35. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

  36. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

  37. 5 out of 5

    Ltambar

  38. 5 out of 5

    Nicoleita

  39. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  40. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  41. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  42. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  43. 4 out of 5

    Tomas Irish

  44. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Jones

  45. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Rodriguez

  46. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

  47. 4 out of 5

    Jaroslav

  48. 4 out of 5

    Erica

  49. 4 out of 5

    Diane

  50. 5 out of 5

    Murphy Temple

  51. 5 out of 5

    Erre

  52. 4 out of 5

    Maley Sullivan

  53. 4 out of 5

    Abdulwahab

  54. 5 out of 5

    Emily Whitmore

  55. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Abeyi

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