by Alan G. V. Simmonds
London & New York: Routledge, 2011. Pp. xii, 326.
Illus., maps, tables, notes, biblio, index. $37.95 paper. ISBN: 0415455391
Britain and World War One
takes a comprehensive look at the British experience in the Great War on the Home Front.
Simmonds has written extensively on British society in the twentieth century, and gives us an excellent integrated treatment of how the war affected British society. He opens with a chapter that gives us an overview of British life and society on the eve of the war. There then follow eight chapters each focused on a particular aspect of the war's impact on the nation, mobilization, industry, government, women, public welfare and social change, agriculture and rural society, propaganda, and what he calls “war culture”, to conclude with a chapter aptly titled “After Rejoicing,” on the fall-of the war. But these chapters, which are packed with data that provide often valuable insights into how the war was affecting Britain and British society, are not exclusive. Simmonds tries, with fair success, to show the inter-relationships among these various aspects of Home Front life. He also includes a number of side bars that serve as mini-appendices to probe more deeply into some facets of life, such as food production, manpower management, sex and morality, and much more.
A valuable read for anyone interested in Britain during the Great War or of war and society.