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The Cross and the Trenches: Religious Faith and Doubt among British and American Great War Soldiers (Hardback)
  • The Cross and the Trenches: Religious Faith and Doubt among British and American Great War Soldiers (Hardback)
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The Cross and the Trenches: Religious Faith and Doubt among British and American Great War Soldiers (Hardback)

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£67.00
Hardback 352 Pages / Published: 30/05/2003
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The modernist historiographical model of the Great War neglects such traditional modes of thought as religious response to battle. Drawing on the testimony of over 500 British and American soldiers, Schweitzer provides an in-depth account of topics such as soldiers' prayers and biblical readings, as well as religious doubts. As a detailed snapshot of religion during the war, this study provides a crucial preamble to studies of the legacy of the Great War. The lack of a satisfactory scholarly study has left interpretation of the role that religion played in soldiers' lives to the pronouncements of their contemporaries who often either viewed World War I as an opportunity to spark a religious revival or as an event that crushed religious faith. Schweitzer argues that neither of these interpretations is accurate, and he hopes to replace them with a model that arranges responses on a spectrum ranging from absolute faith in God to atheism. Based on extensive archival research, this study establishes a detailed model of the spiritual lives of British and American soldiers during the war. After sketching this spiritual history, he concludes that both British and American soldiers were more religious than previous writings have indicated.

Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 9780313318382
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 669 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Recommended. General collections."-Choice
"It is a book to be read for the detail--so many stories of tragedy and heroism, so many cameos of good and evil and the perversity of human nature."-The English Historical
"[A] genuinely polyvocal book, at once a robust addition to the unending history of the war and a refreshing and persuasive challenge to the modernist myth."-American Historical Review
"[P]articularly welcome....The Cross and the Trenches contains some important insights into soldiers' attitudes to Christianity. Schweitzer provides a nicely nuanced picture that enriches our understanding of the culture of the ordinary British and American soldier on the Western Front."-The Journal of Military History
"The Cross and the Trenches is well researched and solidly grounded in the growing secondary literature on the cultural history of the Great War....Religion has largely been absent from discussions of soldiers and their lives. Schweitzer has provided a corrective to this view and has thus enhanced our understanding of the Great War and the men who endured it."-Journal of Social History
"The spiritual history of the First World War is still being written. Richard Schweitzer's The Cross and the Trenches, an analysis of the religious journeys of British and American Soldiers, is a painstaking and insightful contribution....Schweitzer's portrait is a nuanced study of a tumultuous period in which religion was diversifying in its expressions, and personal faiths were fluctuating. It is a valuable addition to two historiographies - both the history of war cultures, and the history of the discursive power of religion."-War in History
"This book cautions against redaction, reading our own current options back on a cultural situation very different from our own. This is a finely wrought work, full of thought-provoking questions....Schweitzer's book joins the work of Jay Winter, who deals extensively with occult spiritualism, and that of Annette Becker as a must-read on the questions of faith and the Great War....One looks forward to further research on the role of religion in all the armed forces of the Great War. Schweitzer has provided an excellent introduction to this long-neglected area."-Relevance
"�A� genuinely polyvocal book, at once a robust addition to the unending history of the war and a refreshing and persuasive challenge to the modernist myth."-American Historical Review
"�P�articularly welcome....The Cross and the Trenches contains some important insights into soldiers' attitudes to Christianity. Schweitzer provides a nicely nuanced picture that enriches our understanding of the culture of the ordinary British and American soldier on the Western Front."-The Journal of Military History
?Recommended. General collections.??Choice
?Recommended. General collections.?-Choice
?It is a book to be read for the detail--so many stories of tragedy and heroism, so many cameos of good and evil and the perversity of human nature.?-The English Historical
?[A] genuinely polyvocal book, at once a robust addition to the unending history of the war and a refreshing and persuasive challenge to the modernist myth.?-American Historical Review
?[P]articularly welcome....The Cross and the Trenches contains some important insights into soldiers' attitudes to Christianity. Schweitzer provides a nicely nuanced picture that enriches our understanding of the culture of the ordinary British and American soldier on the Western Front.?-The Journal of Military History
?The Cross and the Trenches is well researched and solidly grounded in the growing secondary literature on the cultural history of the Great War....Religion has largely been absent from discussions of soldiers and their lives. Schweitzer has provided a corrective to this view and has thus enhanced our understanding of the Great War and the men who endured it.?-Journal of Social History
?The spiritual history of the First World War is still being written. Richard Schweitzer's The Cross and the Trenches, an analysis of the religious journeys of British and American Soldiers, is a painstaking and insightful contribution....Schweitzer's portrait is a nuanced study of a tumultuous period in which religion was diversifying in its expressions, and personal faiths were fluctuating. It is a valuable addition to two historiographies - both the history of war cultures, and the history of the discursive power of religion.?-War in History
?This book cautions against redaction, reading our own current options back on a cultural situation very different from our own. This is a finely wrought work, full of thought-provoking questions....Schweitzer's book joins the work of Jay Winter, who deals extensively with occult spiritualism, and that of Annette Becker as a must-read on the questions of faith and the Great War....One looks forward to further research on the role of religion in all the armed forces of the Great War. Schweitzer has provided an excellent introduction to this long-neglected area.?-Relevance
?In his fascinating, at times moving, new book Richard Schweitzer has mined his sources deeply to produce a comparative study of British and American great War soldiers' religious beliefs. He has convincingly challenged the "bipolarity" of historical analysis of wartime religion: that faith either dramatically revived or proved farcical in light of wartime experience....[S]chweitzer concentrates on the troops, providing a gold mine of information for future reference. Scholars owe a Schweitzer a great debt for his meticuluos foray into the recorded private thoughts of so many soldiers.?-Albion
"In his fascinating, at times moving, new book Richard Schweitzer has mined his sources deeply to produce a comparative study of British and American great War soldiers' religious beliefs. He has convincingly challenged the "bipolarity" of historical analysis of wartime religion: that faith either dramatically revived or proved farcical in light of wartime experience....[S]chweitzer concentrates on the troops, providing a gold mine of information for future reference. Scholars owe a Schweitzer a great debt for his meticuluos foray into the recorded private thoughts of so many soldiers."-Albion
"The fluent and nuanced interplay of religious and military history is confidently accomplished."-Keith Grieves Kingston University

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