Monday, January 11, 2010
The Great Silence
Over the holidays I read an amazing book about the post war years (as in post WW1) called The Great Silence by Juliet Nicholson. She details the years 1918 to 1920 and the introduction of the 2 minute silence as a way of remembering the war dead. What struck me the most, however, was how well she captured the overwhelming sense of grief after the war - grief that most British people were simply unable to articulate. This book draws upon first hand accounts that span class as well as experience and is unforgettable. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the profound impact the Great War had on the British psyche as well as how close Britain came to the edge in those early years after the war had ended (it was a miracle there wasn't a revolution). Be warned, however, you will need a box of tissues on hand - especially for the final chapter which details the return and interment of the unknown soldier.