Thanks to a recent trip to France, to visit World War I sites from the Somme to Verdun, I can once again recommend Richard Rubin’s book Back Over There. During my ramblings, I met some of the people and saw many of the places he writes about.
This book is not the typical history of the war. It is the account of one man’s journey to engage the past, and the discovery that it isn’t really past in many parts of France. The Great War, as it is almost universally known there, still exerts a strong pull on the present. From the war memorials in nearly every village and town, to the visible scars that remain on the landscape a century later, World War I is always there somewhere, reminding those who pass by that not that long ago, the world changed forever on that very spot.
Whether you plan a visit to the Western Front, or just want to gain some new insight into how memory, landscape, and commemoration of the war interact, Back Over There is a good place to begin. You’ll find it in the Shop.