The writer and historian who inspired our modern conception of World War I died yesterday. He was 88.
The US writer Paul Fussell's 1975 book The Great War and Modern Memory was, according to the British military historian John Keegan, revolutionary. Fussell, in what he called "an elegaic commentary", shaped a picture of the horrors of the first world war, and the cold stupidity of its leaders, made more trenchant by his own experiences in the second world war. He also used the writings of Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon and others to show how the romanticising of the war and its heroes provided the creative spark for modernism, and the sensibility of disillusion and distrust of authority that characterised the so-called "lost generation".
This came via Slog tipper Shane, who very eloquently writes that Fussell was "one of the most profound and effective (and underappreciated) anti-war voices in American literature and definitely worthy of some mention." Thank you, Shane. I agree.