Tea With Sarah: Talking About World War I

Good afternoon, it’s time for tea!

This month Gazette665’s Friday blog posts have been focusing on World War I, and we’ve been sharing some photos from the conflict on social media, too. Autumn 2018 marks one hundred years since the final campaigns and ending of the first world war. Can we find “tea appropriate” things to talk about on the subject? I think so!

Come join the conversation. Apple pie and caramel tea would be on the menu if this was a real gathering of history fans!

Do You Have Any Favorite Movies Set In World War I?

Let’s list the more family-friendly ones:

  • Sergeant York (1941)
  • War Horse (2011)
  • Sarah, Plain & Tall: Winter’s End (Hallmark, 1999)
  • Anne of Green Gables, The Continuing Story (TV 2002)

Watch Sergeant York if you like old style, black and white films with American patriotic idealism. War Horse may not be the best choice if you hated Black Beauty, but it is a powerful look at the end of the cavalries and let’s say the ending does not disappoint. Winter’s End is the final movie in the TV trilogy of Sarah, Plain & Tall and is a really good look at the American homefront during the war and the influenza epidemic that swept through communities. Moderately inaccurate and completely untrue to the novels, the final film of Anne of Green Gables is set in World War I and gives a unique perspective on the homefront, medical staff, and spies; better to watch that one as a good story and take history from history books – for sure!

Do you have a movie recommendation for the time period?

Do you have a favorite World War I book?

You know, I’ve read some good mysteries set in the time period, but I don’t think those count as history books!

Confession time: World War I interests me, but I don’t have a book collection or extensive reading list. Send over some suggestions! However, I have really enjoyed looking through online or localized archives/publications and reading primary sources from the war era. A lot of historical societies have prepared some sort of display or commemoration for the hundredth anniversary and it’s been fascinating to learn that way.

I do have one particular World War I book on my shelf. It is not for the faint-hearted. I needed a handkerchief most of the time while reading it. Emily Mayhew’s Wounded: A New History of the Western Front is a history book unlike any other I’ve read, even other medical studies. Powerful and haunting. It is a bloody look at the efforts to transform battlefield medicine and save lives during World War I, and the doctors, nurses, medics, and orderlies who went to war and sacrificed for their cause. It would be hard to call that book a “favorite,” but it is well-written, and for those studying battlefield medicine, it would be a good book to read.

Send book recommendations via comment? Fiction or non-fiction!

What’s A History Fact From World War I That Astonishes You?

Keeping this tea appropriate…

The fact that some veterans from the American Civil War were still alive during World War I. That just startles me, and it’s kind of weirdly interesting to think about.

I start thinking about the trenches at Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and other Civil War battlefields and how that idea morphed into the horrifying entrenched fronts about 5 decades later. How the idea for rapid firing weapons in the Civil War and Spanish American War turned to the machine guns during World War I. How battlefield medicine evolved thanks to the innovations invented on Civil War fields.

I guess that’s more than one history fact to think about…

Let us know in the comments what you’re finding interesting in the history or memory of World War I this year and don’t forget to send me some film or book recommendations in the comments.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

2 thoughts on “Tea With Sarah: Talking About World War I

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