In the United States, November 11 is commemorated as Veterans Day, the annual recognition of our nation’s armed-forces veterans. But Veterans Day (named a national holiday in 1954 by President Eisenhower) has its roots in Armistice Day, the anniversary of the armistice signed by the Allies and Germany to end World War I. The signing famously took place at eleven o’clock in the morning, “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice, a solemn remembrance of the war that military historian Gary Sheffield calls “the single event that more than any other can be said to have shaped the world in which we live.” In honor of the World War I armistice centenary this month, we’re spotlighting a selection of Bas Bleu books (and one mug) that tackle the heroism, sacrifice, and brutality of the Great War…and its lasting legacy.
The Unknown Soldier was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 1921. His journey home from the battlefields of France to the United States—and the wartime experiences of the eight Body Bearers who escorted him there—are at the heart of this immersive World War I history, a moving tribute to American sacrifice and heroism.
River of Darkness
When Inspector John Madden of Scotland Yard is called to the scene of a massacre at an English country estate, he views the brutal scene through the eyes of a battle-hardened veteran of the Great War. But as this gripping mystery unfolds, Madden must face a grim reality: Though some soldiers came home from France, many never truly left the battlefield behind.
Princess May of Teck became Queen Mary in 1910, when her husband was crowned King George V. Four years later, when Britain went to war with Germany, she cemented her reputation for resilience, perseverance, and unflagging duty to her people by enacting food rationing at Buckingham Palace, visiting the wounded and dying in military hospitals, and sending three of her own five sons into the conflict. (Also: World War I is the reason the House of of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is known today as the House of Windsor.)
The First World War
Created in association with London’s Imperial War Museum, this engrossing “scrapbook” of the Great War covers the European political and social climate that laid the groundwork for the conflict, highlights major battles, and examines the aftereffects of the war…and how they paved the way for World War II.
The Mitford Murders
This charming historical mystery is set during the early 1920s, when the flamboyant and hedonistic “Bright Young Things” of England’s aristocracy and rising middle class were the talk of a nation struggling to move beyond the grim war years. But “the war to end all wars” will not be so easily forgotten, as the young women at the heart of this novel learn all too well.
The Radium Girls
This harrowing story chronicles the true tale of the young women who contracted radium poisoning while working for the defense contractor U. S. Radium Corporation during World War I. Their battle for survival was fought in the courtroom, not in the trenches, and became a landmark struggle for workers’ rights that would help to transform industrial safety standards.
The battle for women’s suffrage in Great Britain was already well underway when World War I broke out in 1914. But as the nation’s working-age men shipped out to fight and more women were called up to fill the jobs they’d left behind, the role of women began to change. This mug from English illustrator Alison Gardiner was designed to commemorate the passage of the Representation of the People Act of 1918, which granted suffrage to 8.4 million British women who met specific requirements.
Last Christmas in Paris
This poignant epistolary novel reminds us why we’re drawn time and again to tales of wartime romance…
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