By Randy Gener
The World Remade
America in World War I
By G.J. MEYER
Penguin Random House | 672 pages
World War I Military History | 20th Century U.S. History | Historical Figure Biographies & Memoirs
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NEW YORK CITY | A bracing, indispensable account of America’s epoch-defining involvement in the Great War, rich with fresh insights into the key issues, events, and personalities of the period.
After years of bitter debate, the United States declared war on Imperial Germany on April 6, 1917, plunging the country into the savage European conflict that would redraw the map of the continent—and the globe. The World Remade is an engrossing chronicle of America’s pivotal, still controversial intervention into World War I, encompassing the tumultuous politics and towering historical figures that defined the era and forged the future. When it declared war, the United States was the youngest of the major powers and militarily the weakest by far. On November 11, 1918, when the fighting stopped, it was not only the richest country on earth but the mightiest.
With the mercurial, autocratic President Woodrow Wilson as a primary focus, G. J. Meyer takes readers from the heated deliberations over U.S. involvement, through the provocations and manipulations that drew us into the fight, to the battlefield itself and the shattering aftermath of the struggle. America’s entry into the Great War helped make possible the defeat of Germany that had eluded Britain, France, Russia, and Italy in three and a half years of horrendous carnage. Victory, in turn, led to a peace treaty so ill-conceived, so vindictive, that the world was put on the road to an even bloodier confrontation a mere twenty years later.
On the home front, Meyer recounts the break-up of traditional class structures, the rise of the progressive and labor movements, the wave of anti-German hysteria, and the explosive expansion of both the economy and federal power, including shocking suspensions of constitutional protections that planted the seeds of today’s national security state. Here also are revealing portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, Robert La Follette, Eugene Debs, and John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, among others, as well as European leaders such as “Welsh Wizard” David Lloyd George of Britain, “Tiger” Georges Clemenceau of France, and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.
Meyer interweaves the many strands of his story into a gripping narrative that casts new light on one of the darkest, most forgotten corners of U.S. history. In the grand tradition of his earlier work A World Undone—which centered on the European perspective—The World Remade adds a new, uniquely American dimension to our understanding of the seminal conflict of the twentieth century.
G. J. MEYER is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow with an M.A. in English literature from the University of Minnesota, a onetime journalist, and holder of Harvard University’s Neiman Fellowship in Journalism. He has taught at colleges and universities in Des Moines, St. Louis, and New York. His books include A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, Executive Blues, and The Memphis Murders, winner of an Edgar Award for nonfiction from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Goring-on-Thames, England..
PRAISE FOR THE WORLD REMADE
“[G. J.] Meyer offers wonderful insights into many of the key players in this arresting saga . . . one that should be read to understand our emergence as a global power.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Meyer gives a good sense of America’s future at that negotiating table and Wilson’s celebrated role at Versailles as the leader of the free world. . . . A refreshing look at this still-much-debated world debacle.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Characters come alive and the past seems near. . . . Meyer succeeds brilliantly with his basic narrative approach, and any reader who wants to learn about American participation in the war will benefit from this book.”—Publishers Weekly
“This book is well written, sharp, and has bearing on our present and future involvement in wars. A+”—Seattle Book Review
“This lengthy revisionist history will fit well with American history and governmental studies departments in both public and academic libraries.”—Library Journal