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A new book has entered international debates on German soldiers and war crimes with a vengeance: Soldaten, heralded by the German political magazine Der Spiegel (as the dust jacket states) as ‘nothing short of a sensation … The myth that the Nazi-era German armed forces [were] not involved in war crimes persisted for decades after the war.
Paul Preston is a renowned historian, and is considered one of the world’s leading experts on 20th-century Spanish history. His book on the genocidal actions taken against Spanish civilians between 1936 and 1945 is an important resource that has changed historiography on the period.
Rachel Duffett has written a fine social history of British rank and file soldiers, or rankers, and their experiences of food during the Great War. She states, ‘The ranker’s relationship with food was a constant thread, woven throughout his army experience … every day, wherever he was, a man needed to eat’ (p. 229).
Anybody remotely involved in ‘Churchill Studies’ or even interested in the great man to the extent of reading books by him or on him must have encountered references in the footnotes to the considerable amount of written material which he left. A large part is now deposited at the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge – and available to the public.
‘He was one of the best National Socialists, one of the strongest defenders of the German Reich, one of the greatest opponents of all enemies of the Empire.
In his new book Steven Pinker, psychologist at Harvard University, sets out to fundamentally alter our understanding of the trajectory of violence from pre-historic times to the present. He takes issue with the widely held perception that the most recent past, the 20th century, was an age of large-scale bloodshed and genocidal slaughter.
The SS-Helferinnenkorps, the women who volunteered to support the SS, and who formed a female Nazi elite, have to date been the subject of minimal research. Until now, very little was known about these women, where they came from, why they volunteered, how they were trained, where they worked, and what became of them after the war.
One would naturally expect the two books under review, one a history published by an academic press and the other a novel, to be very different treatments of their chosen theme. Yet it is the similarities between them that consistently strike the reader.
The May/June 2011 issue of Foreign Policy magazine was designated 'The Food Issue'. In the lead article, 'The new geopolitics of food', Lester R. Brown writes, 'From the Middle East to Madagascar, high prices are spawning land grabs and ousting dictators. Welcome to the 21st-century food wars'.
This edited companion in the multi-volume history survey series published by Wiley-Blackwell will become a set text for students of the Great War, at least when the less expensive paperback version appears in bookshops.