Empire between the Lines


Empire between the Lines

Imperial Culture in British and French Trench Newspapers of the Great War

Elizabeth Stice

Studies in War, Society, and the Military Series

236 pages


June 2023


$60.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
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June 2023


$60.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2023


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About the Book

Although the Great War was sparked and fueled by nationalism, it was ultimately a struggle between empires. The shots fired in Sarajevo mobilized citizens and subjects across far-flung continents that were connected by European empires. This imperial experience of the Great War influenced European soldiers’ ideas about the conflict, leading them to reimagine empires and their places with them and eventually reshaping imperial cultures.

In Empire between the Lines Elizabeth Stice analyzes stories, poetry, plays, and cartoons in British and French trench newspapers to demonstrate how British and French soldiers experienced and envisioned empires through the war and the war through empire. By establishing the imperial context for European soldiers and exploring representations of colonial troops, depictions of non-European campaigns, and descriptions of the German enemy, Stice argues that while certain narratives from prewar imperial culture persisted, the experience of the war also created new, competing narratives about empire and colonized peoples.

Empire between the Lines is the first study of its kind to consult British and French newspapers together, offering an innovative lens for viewing the public discourse of the trenches. By interrogating the relationship between British and French soldiers and empire during the war, Stice increases our understanding of the worldview of ordinary men in extraordinary times.

Author Bio

Elizabeth Stice is an associate professor of history at Palm Beach Atlantic University.


“This is a fine study of trench newspapers and the other kinds of amateur journalism British and French soldiers produced during the Great War. Elizabeth Stice shows that although soldiers spoke the language of empire, they fought not for empire but for their towns and villages. We see clearly the presence of the global in the local on the Western Front and the ways Orientalism distorted soldiers’ attitudes when they fought on other fronts.”—Jay Winter, author of Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History

Empire between the Lines, a perceptive analysis of how British and French soldiers understood the role of empire and imperialism in the First World War, deepens in important ways our understanding of the war and those who fought it.”—Martha Hanna, author of Your Death Would Be Mine: Paul and Marie Pireaud in the Great War

Table of Contents



1. The Great War in Imperial Context

2. “Who Is Christopher of Whisky Fame?”

3. Men on the Margins

4. Other Fronts, Other Wars?

5. Why War?

6. The Imperial Enemy?





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