Local Responses to Canada's Great War
In Hometown Horizons, Robert Rutherdale considers how people and communities on the Canadian home front perceived the Great War. Drawing on newspaper archives and organizational documents, he examines how farmers near Lethbridge, Alberta, shopkeepers in Guelph, Ontario, and civic workers in Trois-Rivières, Québec took part in local activities that connected their everyday lives to a tumultuous period in history. Many important debates in social and cultural history are addressed, including demonization of enemy aliens, gendered fields of wartime philanthropy, state authority and citizenship, and commemoration and social memory.
The making of Canada’s home front, Rutherdale argues, was experienced fundamentally through local means. City parades, military send-offs, public school events, women’s war relief efforts, and many other public exercises became the parochial lenses through which a distant war was viewed. Like no other book before it, this work argues that these experiences were the true "realities" of war, and that the old maxim that truth is war’s first victim needs to be understood, even in the international and imperialistic Great War, as a profoundly local phenomenon.
Hometown Horizons contributes to a growing body of work on the social and cultural histories of the First World War, and challenges historians to consider the place of everyday modes of communication in forming collective understandings of world events. This history of a war imagined will find an eager readership among social and military historians, cultural studies scholars, and anyone with an interest in wartime Canada.
This history of a war imagined will find an eager readership among social and military historians, cultural studies scholars, and anyone with an interest in wartime Canada.
Readers will find a wealth of information in Hometown Horizons ... Rutherdale has provided a valuable addition to military and local history in this richly documented and nuanced study on the multi-faceted effects of the First World War on the Canadian home front.
Robert Rutherdale’s Hometown Horizons: Local Responses to Canada’s Great War is an important work that contributes to a social and cultural understanding of the war. … This book stands out in the literature by offering a microscopic view of the struggle. … Overall, Rutherdale’s book is important in the uniqueness of its localized approach. It offers a wealth of information and the depth of the author’s research is impressive. Individuals from each community are brought to life and this work goes a long way in highlighting the importance of the local response to the Great War. Hometown Horizons is useful not only within the historiography of the First World War but also within the study of French-English relations, gender history, and rural and urban history in Canada.
In the absence of the national-spanning media of communications that we have come to take for granted, how do national myths get shared? As Rutherdale argues, horizons for almost all of Canadians from 1914-1918, and probably for almost everyone in the world, were defined by their surrounding hills or plains ... A conscientious postmodern, Rutherdale has brought a fresh perspective to interpreting a major event.
A readable and engaging book that adds to our understanding of the impact of the First World War on Canadian society and to the important place of social discourse, images, rituals, and imagination in the processes of social communication and social differentiation.
1 Places and Sites
2 Dancing before Death
5 Conscription Contested
6 Gendered Fields
7 Men Like Us
8 Beyond Hometown Horizons
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