Defining Documents in American History: World War I (1914-1919)

“With the arrival of the WWI centennial, books about that defining conflict and the role of the United States in it are appearing at a nearly torrential rate. Increasingly necessary, however, are guides that will help beginning researchers understand the social, political, and military factors that governed US policies during the war and the subsequent peacemaking process. Even after nearly a century, questions about American neutrality (1914-1917) and the country’s eventual entry into the war on the side of Britain and France persist. This collection, part of the “Defining Documents in American History” series, offers a cross section of primary source documents accompanied by analysis from recent scholars. Editor Shally-Jensen, who has previously edited a number of historical reference sources related to the WW I era, is well suited for this project. Documents include on-site reports from American diplomats, contemporary newspaper and journal articles, accounts of combat from American soldiers in France, and key speeches (curiously, President Woodrow Wilson’s “Peace without Victory” and “Fourteen Points” speeches are included, but not his April 1917 war message to Congress). Each document includes scholarly analysis, a brief biography of the document’s author, and a brief list of readings. In addition to a subject index and bibliography, the volume includes readers’ guides and a list of web resources. Free online access is available with print purchase at For anyone seeking a sense of the wartime environment, this source provides an excellent place to start. Summing Up: ⋆⋆ Recommended. Academic, public, and military collections supporting lower- and upper-level graduates, graduate students, researchers/faculty, and general readers.”
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