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The War That Used Up WordsAmerican Writers and the First World War$
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Hazel Hutchison

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300195026

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300195026.001.0001

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(p.118) Three 1916—Books
The War That Used Up Words

Hazel Hutchison

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the production of “war books” during the First World War. Houghton Mifflin commissioning editor Ferris Greenslet realized that without domestic radio, with only occasional access to moving images of the conflict, and with newspapers full of political positioning, the public would want books “telling not only what the war was about, but what it was like.” Between 1914 and 1918, Houghton Mifflin issued over a hundred war books with a total circulation of nearly 1.5 million copies. As another war was waged in 1943, Greenslet admitted that, “The chief aim was to try to help educate America to a full knowledge of the evil ambitions that were loose in the world, even if in the end it should lead us to join in fighting them.” Among the books published during the war was Grace Fallow Norton's What Is Your Legion? and Ellen La Motte's The Backwash of War.

Keywords:   war books, First World War, Houghton Mifflin, Ferris Greenslet, Grace Fallow Norton, What Is Your Legion, Ellen La Motte, The Backwash of War

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