The Great Silence
Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age
By Juliet Nicolson
(Grove Press, Hardcover, 9780802119445, 302pp.)
Publication Date: June 2010
List Price: $25.00*
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The euphoria of Armistice Day 1918 vaporizes to reveal the carnage that war has left in its wake. But from Britain's despair emerges new life. For veterans with faces demolished in the trenches, surgeon Harold Gillies brings hope with his miraculous skin-grafting procedure. Women win the vote, skirt hems leap, and Brits forget their troubles at packed dance halls. The remains of a nameless soldier are laid to rest in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey. The Great Silence, observed in memory of the countless dead, halts citizens in silent reverence.
Nicolson crafts her narrative using a lively cast of characters: from an aging butler to a pair of newlyweds, from the Prince of Wales to T.E. Lawrence, the real-life Lawrence of Arabia. "The Great Silence" depicts a nation fighting the forces that threaten to tear it apart and discovering the common bonds that hold it together.
The Daily Beast editor chats with Renee Montagne about the best things she's been reading lately. Brown's focus this month: surviving and thriving in adversity, from the challenges of rescuing a major corporation to the difficulties of readjusting to life after wartime. More at NPR.org
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