Thoughts on the passing of Paul Fussell

Paul Fussell died on May 23, 2012.  He was an American Cultural Historian and a twice wounded veteran of the Second World War.  I was fortunate to discover his book “The Great War and Modern Memory,” considered one of the greatest studies of the legacy and literature of the First World War, as part of research for a graduate paper on British War Poets and the Experience of Trench Warfare in WWI.  Nate Rawlings describes Fussel’s book as “seminal … examining how World War I, by its scope and immense carnage, caused a disillusionment that plagued Western society for decades.”  Fussel himself wrote: “The Great War was more ironic than any before or since … It reversed the idea of Progress.”  Any writer wishing to tackle the time period of 1914-1940 would be much enriched by reading Fussell’s book.  R.

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