Postcards from the Western Front

Postcards from the Western Front

Mark Connelly

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Visitors to the battlefields of France and Belgium expressed pain and anguish, pride and nostalgia, and wonder and surprise at what they saw. Postcards from the Western Front chronicles the many ways in which these sites were perceived and commemorated by British people, both during the First World War and in the twenty years following the Armistice.

Mark Connelly’s definitive and engaging study of the former Western Front examines how different and distinctive sub-communities – regional, ethnic and religious, civilian and armed forces – influenced the depth and strength of the visiting public’s relationship with the battlefields, all the while comparing and contrasting this relationship with the viewpoint of the French and Belgian inhabitants of the devastated regions. Connelly draws from a vast archive a number of interlocking themes, including the lingering presence of the battlefields in the British domestic imagination, the often fraught experience of visiting the battlefields, memorials and cemeteries functioning as part of a historical testimony to wartime realities, and the interactions between visitors and the people living in these former fighting zones.

Focusing on French and Belgian sites, Connelly nevertheless provides insight into other major battlefields fought over by troops from the British Empire. Extensively illustrated with black and white photographs, Postcards from the Western Front offers a groundbreaking perspective on landscapes that rarely left anyone – whether tourist, inhabitant, veteran, or pilgrim – unmoved.

Product details

ISBN-13: 9780228011903

Number of pages: 472

Format: Paperback / softback Trade paperback (US)

Imprint: McGill-Queen's University Press

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