Thursday, 3 December 2015

World War One Wednesday #10 (on a Thursday)

For the second week in a row events overtook my ability to post the only regular feature I do. This time it is a picture of my latest acquistion - a sizeable proportion of the magazine series by Purnell of the First World War. I have wanted this forever, but never thought to look on trade me or ebay. When I did - voila!
94 issues of the 112 issues I need for the full collection.
What is so wonderful about this? Well for me, it is the sheer comprehensive nature of the undertaking. Did you know about the savage repression of the Kazaks by the Imperial Russian government in 1916? There is an article in here about it. Ditto for a whole host of things you probably never knew about.
'Are you reading a copy of Purnell's history of the First World War?'
So I've found a few of the issues I need online since, and I'll look into getting them next year.

There are a couple of downsides though. First of all - where do I put them? I don't have the original binders, and when I looked in to having them library bound I discovered it would cost me $75 a volume. Seven volumes later and I could have had a down-payment on a small house! 

Secondly, and saddest for me, is the fact that on the 100th anniversary of the war nobody is considering undertaking a partwork publication like this incorporating all of the recent advances we have made in the scholarship of the conflict. I can only think that the powers that be consider such a project to be too highbrow for the consumption of joe public. Better to feed them some more throw-away glossy gossip trash.



  1. Nate, I agree that it is a sad reflection on the state of academic study, or perhaps it is the state of the publishing industry, that no one has put out a scholarly work for the centenary of the Great War. I was rather hoping that Hew Strachan (no relation BTW) might have pushed out Volumes two and three of his planned trilogy, but alas we are left with Volume 1. I did enjoy the Max Hastings book last year and there is hope he may do something more yet.

    1. Osprey has put a couple of great books by Ian Senior and Prit Buttar as well. But it is the lack of interest in the wider community for a magazine like this that I find sad. I'm not sure if it reflects the modern attitude that avoids intellectual discourse or publishers deciding that it isn't something that people would be interested in.

    2. I have the Ian Senior work (still unread). i think that the real problem is that the publishing world has not yet got to grips on how to live in the digital world and still turn a profit. I am involved in technical publishing and the digital rights issue is a point of ongoing discussion. The protection of intellectual property and providing authors a way of eraning a living is extremely difficult in the age of the internet where everyone wants everything for free.