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The secret history of soldiers : how Canadians survived the Great War
2018
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Summary
There have been thousands of books on the Great War, and hundreds on Canada's part in the conflict, but most of these have focused on commanders, battles, strategy, and tactics. Less attention has been paid to the daily lives of the combatants, how they coped with and endured the unimaginable conditions of what was then modern industrial warfare: the rain of shells, bullets, and chemical agents. The Secret History of Soldiers examines how those who managed to survive the horrific conditions of trench warfare on the Western Front found solace, relief, distraction and even entertainment. Over the years, both writers and historians have overlooked this aspect of soldiers lives, as there are no official histories or records. These tales come from the soldiers themselves, captured in letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral accounts. The recollections and artifacts of more than five hundred soldiers form the basis of this book; they include such rare resources as trench art, postcards, and eve
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Table of Contents
Introduction: Soldiers' Culturep. 1
Chapter 1Survival Culturep. 23
Chapter 2Death Culturep. 54
Chapter 3Voicing Culture: Slang and Swearingp. 90
Chapter 4The War's Soundtrackp. 118
Chapter 5Trench Storiesp. 143
Chapter 6"Somewhere in France"p. 163
Chapter 7Trench Newspapersp. 194
Chapter 8Drawn and Quarteredp. 221
Chapter 9Material Culturep. 245
Chapter 10Soldiers' Culture Behind the Firing Linep. 266
Chapter 11Shock Troupesp. 293
Chapter 12Entrenched Culturep. 318
Endnotesp. 361
Acknowledgmentsp. 417
Select Bibliographyp. 420
Indexp. 456
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