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 listeners from the heated deliberations over US 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 20 years later.
On the home front, Meyer recounts the breakup 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 US 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 20th century.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By David P. McGivern on 01-04-17
"100% America" - a disturbing place to be
I recommend this without hesitation. I have two other histories from Mr. Myer in my library, the prequel to this one " A World Undone" ( a history of WW!) and his history of the Tudors. I consider this ( " A World Remade") to be his best.
First what it is not. It is not a detailed history of the causes of,or events leading to and which occurred during, World War I (with heroic Britain, France and then America standing up against the evil German Empire). Neither is it a detailed recitation of the various battles (in other words, it was not co-authored by Max Hastings). It is, rather, a fascinating description of American society before, during and after the War, and a disturbing one at that.
He of course has to establish the context of America's consideration of the War, which he does, throughout, in a more nuanced presentation that many (most) books on this terrible time in history. He describes, for example, the somewhat hypocritical attitude of Britain condemning the war atrocities of Germany all the while engaging in an unlawful sea blockade that starved millions of civilians both during the war and for as long as six months after the fighting stopped ( thus giving a reason why Germany, for it's survival, had to ( during the War) engage in U-boat retaliation). He describes the mood of the country, isolationist or no, and the support of Britain and France by America from the outset
(notwithstanding the supposed assertion by Wilson that America was "neutral")
Most startling is Mr. Myer's descriptions ( he gives many, many examples) of the extent to which President Wilson ( and Congress) suspended civil liberties almost completely after the war began. People could be, and were, jailed for upwards of 10, 15, 20 years merely for criticizing either himself or the war effort. Newspapers were shut down. Journalists were jailed. Unless one was "100% American" ( no ethnics need apply) they were shunned, mistreated, put out of business. Criticism of any kind was not tolerated - one bit.
He concludes, less interesting for me, with a detailed description of Wilson's post-War attempts to establish the League of Nations, resisted by Congress and the Senate.
Unlike the most recent (and worth reading/listening to) biography of President Wilson by Scott Berg, mostly supportive of the man, Meyer is very critical of the President, describing him as self-righteous, intolerant, and rigid.
Mr. Meyer repeats his usual pattern of breaking up the chapters with "Background" information, all interesting in and of themselves. His prose is clear, concise.
No problem with Mr. Shapiro's narration, Always a critical factor for me when I am ordering the book.
This book is so detailed I will probably listen to it a second time in the future
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
By John on 20-04-17
Great Book, Interesting Takes & New Look at Wilson
As a fan of The World Undone, I looked forward to The World Remade and was not disappointed. It offers a great overall view of the period with many anecdotes that give it a more intimate feel. Additionally, it is refreshing to have an author go into detail to expose the hypocrite that was Woodrow Wilson. This book looks closely at all the details and finds the good and bad with all characters, including Wilson. If you want an unvarnished read on this period (and one that does not glorify Wilson or shame Lodge reflexively) than this is the read for you.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful