This video from Britain about World War I says about itself:
The Somme – Lions Led By Donkeys
Documentary about the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. A number of excellent interviews from old soldiers.
By John Green in Britain:
Well versed in the realities of first world war
Monday 25th January 2016
Everything to Nothing: A History of the Great War, Revolution and the Birth of Europe by Geert Buelens (Verso, £20)
That perception is typical of this very different and fascinating take on the conflict, reflected in the outpouring of writing amid the tumult and chaos.
The war opened up new imaginative possibilities for exploring personal tragedy and the extremes of human experience.
Poetry, particularly, took centre stage, both as a means of propaganda and for manipulating sentiments but also as a means of portraying a scarcely communicable horror.
Buelens undertakes a cultural history of the war through the writings of those caught up in the maelstrom, from the point of view of poets from all the European countries involved, including Anna Akhmatova, Rupert Brooke, Guillaume Apollinaire and many less well-known writers.
He provides a panorama of those short but intensive four years from 1914-18 through the eyes of those poets who charted its course but also imagined its aftermath and encapsulated the human Calvary in a way that no traditional history, however good, could do.
The author draws on an amazing range of poets to weave a comprehensive picture of the psychology of the immediate pre-war period and the premonition of the chaos, nihilism and nationalism as well as a yearning for change.
These poets, in the main, were actual participants and describe the war’s raw reality, unlike the onlookers and outsiders who could afford to squander their patriotic rhetoric and appeals to romantic sacrifice while others were obliged to squander their blood.
Despite the ideals of pre-war socialists throughout Europe that working men and women of all nations would stand together and refuse to slaughter each other, a short time later they followed their governments like lambs to the abattoir, cocooned in the heady patriotic fervour of national anthems and swirling banners.
This book undoubtedly represents a unique approach to the history of the war but without a political and economic context it can of course provide only a literary reflection on it, without offering any analysis.