Tag: ww1

Complicating the Canon of the First World War: A Review of Ellen La Motte’s Backwash of War, edited by Cynthia Wachtell

Think back on any syllabi of the First World War and the literature represented in it. For me, those titles included Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, and Frederick Manning’s The Middle Parts of Fortune, or poets like Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, and Laurence Binyon. Indeed,… Read more →

A Woman Who Wrote About War: Recovering Ellen N. La Motte’s The Backwash of War

I love the old American spiritual “Down by the Riverside.” In fact, my first book borrows its title, War No More, from the song’s refrain. However, as a scholar of American antiwar writing, I have been studying war for a very long time. Sadly, my scholarly career has overlapped with America’s wars in Afghanistan and… Read more →

“Considerable Grief”: Dead Bodies, Mortuary Science, and Repatriation after the Great War

In September 1919, Mary McKenney was forced to relive the horrors of her husband Arthur’s death. Sergeant Arthur McKenney was wounded in France and returned to the United States.1 Despite his minor injury, he later died at a US Army hospital in Colonia, New Jersey from shock following an operation. After the autopsy, his body… Read more →

Colorizing and Fictionalizing the Past: A Review of Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old

Five years ago, the Imperial War Museum in London contacted Peter Jackson (of Lord of the Rings fame) and tasked him with presenting some 100+ hours of archival footage from the First World War in a “fresh and original” way, without any new or modern footage. For over half a decade, Jackson and his team… Read more →

Quacks, Alternative Medicine, and the U.S. Army in the First World War

During the First World War, the Surgeon General received numerous pitches for miraculous cures for sick and wounded American soldiers. Ranging from anti-sea sickness remedies to complex elixirs for treating diseases like tuberculosis and venereal disease, America’s “quack” and non-traditional medical practitioners sought a seat at the table. Serving as a barrier between established medical… Read more →

Bearing the Brunt of Their Father’s Service: Ex-Soldiers and Child Murder, 1914-1935

In May 2011, British Lance Corporal Liam Culverhouse assaulted his seven-week-old daughter, resulting in severe brain damage and fractures to her skull, limbs, and ribs.1 She never recovered and died 18 months later. Two years before the crime, Culverhouse had been medically discharged from the army with a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after he… Read more →

“Everything Seems Wrong:” The Postwar Struggles of One Female Veteran of the First World War

Around the world, ceremonies, public art installations, concerts, lectures, and educational events are commemorating the fallen of the First World War, to make beauty, peace, and sense out of a century of global grief. These ceremonies provide a critical sense of closure to a world still reeling from the political, economic, and personal ramifications of… Read more →

Truly Ambitious Women: Women Chiropractors and World War I

In the turn-of-the-century United States, women were among the first chiropractors. In a period when established medical schools barred women from entering because of their gender, chiropractic and other “irregular” medical practices provided a more welcoming home for women interested in health care and a professional career. Immediately before and during World War I, chiropractic… Read more →

“Battalion of Life”: American Women’s Hospitals and the First World War

Shortly after the United States entered the First World War in April 1917, Dr. Rosalie Slaughter Morton of Virginia published an article describing the work of Scottish Women’s Hospitals, a medical unit staffed entirely by female physicians who were caring for wounded servicemen among the Allied nations. Morton hoped this agency would serve as a… Read more →

“A Male Department of Warfare:” Female Ambulance Drivers in the First World War

While serving as an ambulance driver during the First World War, Pat Beauchamp witnessed the harrowing sight of four soldiers “blown to pieces.”1 It was an experience that, she wrote: By chance, shortly before the explosion, Beauchamp and her fellow drivers had stopped further up the road for lunch. Part of the shock and fear… Read more →