Remembering World War I in America

Remembering World War I in America

Kimberly J. Lamay Licursi

Studies in War, Society, and the Military Series

294 pages
4 illustrations, 4 tables, 2 appendixes, index

Hardcover

March 2018

978-0-8032-9085-3

$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

March 2018

978-1-4962-0569-8

$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

March 2018

978-1-4962-0567-4

$55.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Poised to become a significant player in the new world order, the United States truly came of age during and after World War I. Yet many Americans think of the Great War simply as a precursor to World War II. Americans, including veterans, hastened to put experiences and memories of the war years behind them, reflecting a general apathy about the war that had developed during the 1920s and 1930s and never abated. 

In Remembering World War I in America Kimberly J. Lamay Licursi explores the American public’s collective memory and common perception of World War I by analyzing the extent to which it was expressed through the production of cultural artifacts related to the war. Through the analysis of four vectors of memory—war histories, memoirs, fiction, and film—Lamay Licursi shows that no consistent image or message about the war ever arose that resonated with a significant segment of the American population. Not many war histories materialized, war memoirs did not capture the public’s attention, and war novels and films presented a fictional war that either bore little resemblance to the doughboys’ experience or offered discordant views about what the war meant. In the end Americans emerged from the interwar years with limited pockets of public memory about the war that never found compromise in a dominant myth. 
 

Author Bio

Kimberly J. Lamay Licursi is an adjunct instructor of history at Siena College in New York. 
 

Praise

"An interesting and thoughtful look at how national memory is constructed."—A. A. Nofi, Strategy Page

“Kimberly Lamay Licursi explores with nuance and detail the American cultural memory of the Great War before 1941. Using understudied sources, such as pulp fiction and abandoned state history projects, she deftly shows how the act of ‘forgetting’ the war was based on remembering it in divergent ways. Fascinating and timely reading.”—Stephen R. Ortiz, professor of history at Binghamton University (SUNY) and author of Veterans’ Policies, Veterans’ Politics and Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill
 

“I am impressed by the thoroughness with which Kimberly J. Lamay Licursi has combed through archival records related to state-level remembrance projects. And I admire (and regard as a model) the way she grounds her assertions about cultural influence in quantifiable specifics—in inventories of library holdings, recommendations in library journals, and the like.”—Steven K. Trout, professor of English at the University of South Alabama and author of On the Battlefield of Memory: The First World War and American Remembrance, 1919–1941

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
Acknowledgments    
Introduction    
1. State War Histories: An Atom of Interest in an Ocean of Apathy    
2. War Memoirs: They Pour from Presses Daily    
3. War Stories: Fiction Cannot Ignore the Greatest Adventure in a Man’s Life    
4. War Films: Shootin’ and Kissin’    
Conclusion    
Appendix 1: Selected Bibliography of World War I Personal Narratives    
Appendix 2: Selected Bibliography of World War I Novels    
Notes    
Bibliography    
Index    

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