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Východ proti Západu?

Východ proti Západu?

[East vs. West?]

Wohlmuth, Petr

subjects: history – 19th century, anthropology and ethnography

paperback, 432 pp., 1. edition
published: november 2020
ISBN: 978-80-246-4602-2
recommended price: 450 czk

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summary

Historical anthropology rejects superficial patriotic and heroic accounts of war. It understands war primarily as a hard, immediate and transformative experience of those specific people involved: the ones who fight, are wounded and die, work in the rear echelons, treat and heal the wounded, provide comfort and spiritual services, or are otherwise associated with war. Such people sometimes leave behind „ego-documents“: diaries, letters to friends or family, autobiographies or personal notes. It is through these sources, which provide a completely personal view of war and its violence, that the author views the Crimean War (1853–1856); this war was the first to take on an absolutely unanticipated dimension due to the application of a number of technical innovations of the industrial revolution. The author goes beyond the usual oversimplified view of the Crimean War as a religiously motivated civilizational conflict, takes neither side and analyzes the experience and culture of war, especially during the great siege of Sevastopol (1854-1855) from the perspective of 137 participants from Russia and Britain. The author analyzes key elements of the „historical mythology“ of both sides, including the concept of Sevastopol as the Hero City or the narrative of the Thin Red Line and the Charge of the Light Brigade, in the background of which much more significant cultural traumas and configurations shaping the conflict could be found. In the field of military historiography, this represents a unique approach, which so far has no parallels in the Czech or global context.