A haunting portrait of France at war
On August 1, 1914, war erupted into the lives of millions of families across France. Most people thought the conflict would last just a few weeks.
Yet before the month was out, twenty-seven thousand French soldiers died on the single day of August 22 alone-the worst catastrophe in French military history. Refugees streamed into France as the German army advanced, spreading rumors that amplified still more the ordeal of war. Citizens of enemy countries who were living in France were viciously scapegoated. Drawing from diaries, personal correspondence, police reports, and government archives, Bruno Cabanes renders an intimate, narrative-driven study of the first weeks of World War I in France. Told from the perspective of ordinary women and men caught in the flood of mobilization, this revealing book deepens our understanding of the traumatic impact of war on soldiers and civilians alike.
August 1914 was a finalist for a prestigious French book award, the Prix Femina for nonfiction, in 2014.
Bruno Cabanes is the Donald G. and Mary A. Dunn Chair in Modern Military History at Ohio State University. Before coming to Ohio State, he taught at Yale University. He is the author of The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, 1918-1924. He lives with his family in Bexley, OH. Stephanie O'Hara is associate professor of French and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.