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Writing in the Post-War World of Agatha Christie by Christopher Huang

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Writing in the Post-War World of Agatha Christie

By Christopher Huang

 

Agatha Christie has won the world over with her fabulous detective novels and her star character, Hercule Poirot. Less renowned is her time in WWI as a nurse, an experience that, without a doubt, inspired her narrative universe. Christopher Huang, the author of A Gentleman's Murder, a detective story about a murder in a gentlemen's club of British 1914-1918 veterans, discusses the influence of WWI on Agatha Christie's work. Uncover Huang's post about one of the greatest detective writers of all time.

 

HUANGagathanurse 3036990cChristie's time as a nurse and dispenser in the First World War without doubt informed her choice of poison as the predominant murder weapon in her novels (AGATHA CHRISTIE ARCHIVE) Image credit: The Telegraph

It’s no secret that Agatha Christie’s career as a mystery novelist began with the First World War. The Mysterious Affair at Styles was written at the close of the war, and Hercule Poirot made his debut there as one of the numerous Belgian refugees seeking asylum in England during the war. Christie herself had served as a volunteer nurse, dispensing medications, and this experience becomes visible in her use of poisons in multiple books afterward. What is perhaps a little less obvious is the way in which the war’s negative impact on society appears in her work. Part of this absence might have to do with familiarity; generally, you have no need to draw attention to something when your audience is intimately familiar with it. It might also reflect a distaste for unpleasantness; as a form of escapist literature, the whole point of the mystery story was to put the harsher realities of the post-war world aside and lose oneself in something a little more positive.

Read more: Writing in the Post-War World of Agatha Christie by Christopher Huang

The Debt of WWII Resistance Writers to WWI Veterans Part 3: French Journalist Stéphanie Trouillard Traces Her Breton Family Through Both World Wars

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The Debt of WWII Resistance Writers to WWI Veterans Part 3:  French Journalist Traces Her Breton Family Through Both World Wars

WWrite Interviews Stéphanie Trouillard

 

French journalist and regular WWrite blog contributor Stéphanie Trouillard has undertaken a formidable task: chronicling innovative histories of WWI and WWII... at the same time. For five years and counting, she has used social media to tell the stories of WWI for the French media. She has also just published her successful first book, My Uncle from the Shadows, a memoir of her great-uncle who died in the WWII French Resistance. In this week's post, she sits down to talk with WWrite about the ways her research and writing on both wars have intertwined to tell a tale of her own family's experience of loss and survival in 1914-1918 and in 1939-1944. This is the third in the blog series entitled, “The Debt of WWII French Resistance Writers to WWI Veterans.”

 

MONST1Book cover of "My Uncle From the Shadows." Image credit: Stéphanie Trouillard

Read more: The Debt of WWII Resistance Writers to WWI Veterans Part 3: French Journalist Stéphanie Trouillard...

The Story of Freddie Stowers, the First African American Recipient of the WWI Medal of Honor

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The Story of Freddie Stowers, the First African American Recipient of the WWI Medal of Honor

By Courtney L. Tollison Hartness, Ph.D.

 

While researching African Americans who served in the WWI American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) from her community, oral historian and Furman history professor Courtney L. Tollison Hartness discovered the compelling story of one soldier whose influential and enduring legacy would have been inconceivable to him. September 28, 2018, marked the centennial of his death. His name was Freddie Stowers, and he was the first African American Recipient of the WWI Medal of Honor. Yet, he didn't receive the award until 73 years after he perished during the Battle of Meuse-Argonne.

TOLStowers Sculpture Nov 2015Donors and family members unveil the statue of Freddie Stowers on the campus of Anderson University. Photo Courtesy: Paul Brown, The Greenville News

 

The centennial commemoration of the end of World War I was a long-anticipated global event.  Around the world, throughout the years and months leading up to November 11, 2018, the centennial of major offensives and battles was observed in meaningful and elaborate ceremonies.

However, it must also be said that these centennial years also represent the 100-year anniversaries of the deaths of millions of people.

Read more: The Story of Freddie Stowers, the First African American Recipient of the WWI Medal of Honor

A New Look at Anne Frank, Her Father, and WWI Through Literature and History: David Gillham and Peter de Bourgraaf

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A New Look at Anne Frank, Her Father, and WWI Through Literature and History

By David Gillham and Peter de Bourgraaf

 GillhamAnneOtto Frank 1889 1980

The Diary of Anne Frank has always been known as a story of the Holocaust and of WWII. But it is also, in part, a story about WWI. This week at WWrite, New York Times bestselling writer of City of Women, David Gillham, discusses a little-known yet important event his newly released book, Annelies, a novel that imagines a scenario in which Anne Frank survives the Holocaust: the Nazi officer, a veteran of WWI, who arrested the Frank family decided to be dignified with them because he discovered that Otto Frank, Anne's father, had also served in WWI. As a historical complement to Gillham, Dutch historian Peter de Bourgraaf, who worked for the Anne Frank Foundation in Amsterdam, talks about his research on the shortcomings of the Versailles Treaty, shortcomings be believes were the cause of WWII. Read this dual literary-historical new perspective of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, one of the world's most important accounts of the Holocaust.

Read more: A New Look at Anne Frank, Her Father, and WWI Through Literature and History: David Gillham and...

First I Said No

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First I Said No

By Mary L. Doyle

 

DOYLEFTMEADEFort George G. Meade: The First 100 Years. By Mary L. Doyle and Sherry A Kuiper. Design by Benjamin D. Rogers

Fort George G. Meade held the first two-hour planning meeting for our WWI Centennial celebrations in August 2015. After the meeting, I headed toward the door with a long list of events, projects, and further planning to do. Camp Meade had been one of the first of 16 cantonments established at the start of the U.S. involvement of the war. The plans we made to acknowledge that history were going to keep me busy for the next couple of years and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Read more: First I Said No

Five WWI Army African American Bands That Changed Music Forever

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Five WWI Army African American Bands That Changed Music Forever

James Lamb

2Jazzpic1WWI Military Band. Image courtesy of James Lamb 

As a life-long military musician, I’ve always enjoyed most the concerts where we performed that quintessentially American style of music – big band Jazz. I’ve had the personal pleasure of performing for literally millions of people across the globe. It’s this one style of music that, no matter who you are or where you’re from, you can’t help but tap your toes, clap your hands, and move to the music. It’s happy, spontaneous and full of energy. It’s just so American. So where did this music come from? And when did our military bands become ambassadors of American goodwill performing this music?  

The often-told story is that Jazz migrated up from New Orleans when the US entered WWI and after the Navy shut down the fabled Storyville district. This happened in November of 1917 forcing the icons we know so well from the Crescent City to emigrate north to Chicago, then to New York where fans immediately embraced this new music. But Jazz was already emerging across the US. Ragtime had been the rage for 30 years. By 1914 the syncopated rhythms of Ragtime were combined with the Blues and played with the energy to keep up with the new dances. This was happening in New York, Chicago, Memphis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Some called this “Hot Ragtime”, others “Jazz”. In fact, the use of the word “Jazz” to describe this new music began in 1915 in San Francisco and Chicago, not New Orleans.

Read more: Five WWI Army African American Bands That Changed Music Forever

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