Author of '1913: The World Before the Great War' speaks to Centenary News

Posted on centenarynews.com on 25/09/2013
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The author of 1913: The World Before the Great War, Charles Emmerson, talks to Centenary News' Ashlee Godwin about his book and his efforts to "provide an alternative perspective on how the world actually looked at the time".

The book surveys 23 cities from around the globe in 1913.

"When we look at standard accounts of the world before the war, I felt that we were getting really half the story... we were getting stories about the rise of nationalism, this almost inevitable path" to war.

Mr. Emmerson emphasised the importance of focusing on people living in 1913, without the prospect of conflict the next year being a certainty: "Did they look at the world in 1913 as one which was on the cusp of some great geopolitical cataclysm? Or did they in fact have different perspectives, different aspirations, were they optimistic about the future?".

Mr. Emmerson continued that readers would "find a lot familiar in the world of 1913" in terms of globalisation, but that we should not "assume that the future is going to be exactly like the past".

Video producers: Stephanie Howe, Ben Jay

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