DA -- History and Area Studies

Golo Mann: Leben und Werk: Chronik und Bibliographie (1929-2004) [Golo Mann: Life and Works: Chronology and Bibliography]. Klaus W. Jonas and Holger R. Stunz, in cooperation with the Schweizerisches Literaturarchiv Bern. 2d improved and expanded ed. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2004. 366 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 3-447-05053-5: EUR 45 [04-2-553]

The rapid sell-out of the first edition (2003) led the publishers to commit to a new edition of this work, that extends the bibliography to 2004 and picks up earlier publications that had been missed. These are located in an appendix, the arrangement of which follows that of the original edition without, however, carrying forth the entry numbering. Happily, these new citations have been incorporated into the index. [sh/rlk]

Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg [Encyclopedia of the First World War]. Ed. Gerhard Hirschfeld, Gerd Krumeich, and Irina Renz. Paderborn [et al.]: Schöningh, 2003. 1,001 p. ill. 27 cm. ISBN 3-506-73913-1: EUR 78 [04-1-324]

Following in the footsteps of the Enzyklopädie des Nationalsozialismus (see RREA 4:158-159), a similarly experienced editorial team has produced the first modern German-language encyclopedia of World War I. It brings to life all significant aspects of the “Great War” and reminds us of major events in politics and in the course of the war, of the men (and, less frequently, the women) who made or suffered under history, of battlefields on land and sea, and of the daily life of the common soldiers and citizens in the nations involved. The coverage is broad, extending to such topics as “superstition,” “war-time cookery books,” “soldiers’ humor,” and “vermin.” The technology of weaponry is also covered (“Big Bertha,” “dumdum bullets,” “poison gas,” “shrapnel,” “steel helmet,” “tank”; only “barbed wire,” which was not infrequently used for murderous purposes, is missing).

The volume is composed of narrative and “lexicon” parts, followed by a “Chronology 1914-1918.” Nearly 150 contributors from 16 nations have delivered an integrated work that reflects the most recent scholarship as well as international standards. The narrative section is divided into four parts—”Nations,” “Society in War,” “The Course of the War,” and “The Writing of History”—that are covered by 26 survey essays, of 10 to 15 pages each. Only the major powers among the combatants are discussed in these essays; whoever is interested in the Balkan countries, the former colonies, or the neutral countries must look in the lexicon section.

The work frequently surprises the reader with fresh perspectives, such as new interpretations regarding the war-goals of the participating nations. The quality of the essays is unusually good, due to the proven capabilities of the contributors. There is some redundancy between the information in the essays and in the lexicon entries; this may be the reason that there appears to have been no room for a general bibliography and a name index.

In general, the lexicon section is easy to use, although one sometimes has to follow several cross-references to find out details. The choice of secondary literature is not always completely convincing, as some standard works are missing. In sum, however, this affordable and carefully prepared work deserves the highest praise for its accuracy, its variety, and the wealth of information it offers. [frh/nb]

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Last update: July 17, 2007 [TB]
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