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Under Siege

Portraits of Civilian Life in France During World War I

by Robert J. Young


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Studies on the First World War are plentiful but most tend to focus on the combatants. This volume offers a new and highly original perspective that shows the reader the civilian side of this protracted and destructive war through a succession of "snapshots": 130 excerpts from leading American and Canadian newspapers provide a collective portrait of life behind the battle lines, what is often called the "second" front. Written principally by Paris-based journalists, and intended for popular reading audiences, these articles depict ordinary people in a way that still touches the reader of today. They record eye-witness testimony of Paris under aerial bombardment, the gutted cathedrals at Reims and Arras, the cemeteries around Compiegne, the subterranean living quarters at Cambrai, and the heart-breaking orphanages at Chambly.

Introduced and concluded by the editor, the volume also offers biographical notes on some of the leadingjournalist contributors, maps to familiarize readers with the geography of northern France, and detailed subject and geographical indices. The volume ends with a select bibliography of works on the subject of French civilian life during the Great War.

Publication Details

Berghahn Books
Publication Date:


  • Adobe PDF eBook 6.2 MB

Robert J. Young (Editor)

Robert J. Young has been Full-Professor in the History Department at the University of Winnipeg since 1981. He received the Canadian Professor of the Year Award in 1996, and his book on power and pleasure: Louis Barthou and the Third French Repub...

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Under Siege
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