Great War | Great Read

August - October 2014

The Kansas City Public Library and the National World War I Museum present Great War | Great Read — a commemoration of the centennial of World War I, including a community-wide reading and discussion of two classic books: Erich Maria Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Barbara W. Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history, The Guns of August.


  


  


Public events include book discussions, film screenings, speaker programs, and special tours at the National World War I Museum, as well as lectures about notable battlefronts in Europe and the Middle East, Gold Star mothers, and the music of World War I. Additionally, several hundred copies of All Quiet on the Western Front and The Guns of August will be available for check-out from all ten Kansas City Public Library locations.


  

Join us for discussions of these books led by Library staff. A full list of Library Book Groups participating in The Great War | Great Read is available here.


Discover Kansas City’s unique World War I history during this 100th commemorative year of the “War to End All Wars.” Public events will be held at the following locations:

Kansas City Public Library -
Central Library

14 W. 10th St., Kansas City, MO 64105

Kansas City Public Library - Plaza Branch
4801 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64112

National World War I Museum
at Liberty Memorial

100 W. 26th St., Kansas City, MO 64108

Union Station
30 W. Pershing Rd., Kansas City, MO 64108


  

Great War | Great Read Kickoff
Sunday, August 3, 2014 - 1:00 p.m.
National World War I Museum


Kansas City Public Library Director Crosby Kemper III and National World War I Museum Director of Strategic Engagement Linda Trout kick off The Great War | Great Read with a public conversation about the Kansas City community’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first year of World War I and the war’s place in global and local history.

Immediately following the kickoff, experience the 1930 Academy Award-winning film All Quiet on the Western Front. This remastered classic, based on Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war novel, follows a German soldier as he transitions from an idealistic new recruit to a disillusioned, war-weary veteran.

  

Captain Harry Goes to War - D.M. Giangreco
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 6:30 p.m.
Central Library
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Military historian D.M. Giangreco, author of The Soldier from Independence: A Military History of Harry Truman, looks at the 34-year-old Army National Guardsman – and future president – and his battles on the front lines as well as within the military system. Co-presented by the Truman Library Institute.

  

Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War - Paul Jankowski
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 6:30 p.m.
Central Library
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Historian Paul Jankowski discusses his book about one of history’s greatest and most demanding battlefield encounters – a 302-day nightmare that left an estimated 303,000 French and German soldiers dead and more than 400,000 wounded.

  

Missouri’s German Americans During World War I - Petra DeWitt
Sunday, August 17, 2014 - 2:00 p.m.
Central Library
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How do you prove that you are a true American? Especially if you’re of German descent and your country is engaged in a desperate struggle with your ancestors’ homeland? Historian Petra DeWitt examines the suspicions and hostilities faced by Missouri’s sizable German American population during World War I, including questions about loyalty and an effort to ban the German language in the state.

  

Intelligence and Espionage During World War I - Mark Stout
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 6:30 p.m.
Central Library
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Former State Department and CIA intelligence analyst Mark Stout discusses the birth of modern American espionage during World War I, from aerial reconnaissance and battlefield code-breaking to the search for spies and saboteurs back home in the States. Co-presented by the Truman Library Institute.

  

Explore: Galleries through the Lens of The Guns of August
Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 11:00 a.m.
National World War I Museum


Explore the National World War I Museum’s galleries with Senior Curator Doran Cart. As part of The Great War | Great Read, view the collection through the lens of Barbara W. Tuchman’s classic The Guns of August and get a better understanding of the opening months of the War.

  

FYI Book Club: The Guns of August
Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 1:00 p.m.
National World War I Museum


This semi-monthly book group sponsored by The Kansas City Star and the Kansas City Public Library invites readers to explore contemporary classic literature. A summary of this discussion of Barbara W. Tuchman’s The Guns of August will be published in the FYI section of The Star. Those interested in joining the conversation should register with discussion leader Kaite Stover at kaitestover@kclibrary.org or 816.701.3683.

  

Brown Bag Book Discussion: The Guns of August
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 11:30 a.m.
National World War I Museum


Join Kansas City Public Library Director of Readers’ Services Kaite Stover for a lively conversation about The Guns of August, Barbara W. Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the first 30 days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the 20th century, and ultimately our present world. Those interested in joining the discussion should register at kaitestover@kclibrary.org or 816.701.3683.

  

Explore: Galleries through the Lens of All Quiet on the Western Front
Saturday, September 6, 2014 - 11:00 a.m.
National World War I Museum


Discover the intersection of fact and fiction with National World War I Museum Senior Curator Doran Cart as he explores the Museum’s collection through the lens of Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front.

  

Film: All Quiet on the Western Front (1979; NR)
Saturday, September 14, 2014 - 2:00 p.m.
National World War I Museum


Ernest Borgnine, Richard Thomas, Donald Pleasence, and Patricia Neal headline this Golden Globe Award-winning remake of the 1930 classic. Based on Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war novel, the film tells the story of the First World War through the eyes of a young German soldier.

  

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 6:30 p.m.
National World War I Museum


Drawing on new scholarship, Christopher Clark offers a fresh look at the complex events and relationships that led well-meaning world leaders into the brutal conflict that would become the “War to End All Wars.” One of The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of the Year in 2013, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is a compelling history that reveals in gripping detail how this conflict resulted in more than 15 million casualties, the destruction of three empires, and the permanent alteration of world geography. Co-sponsored by the German Studies Association.

  

Brown Bag Book Discussion: All Quiet on the Western Front
Friday, September 19, 2014 - 11:30 a.m.
National World War I Museum


Join Kansas City Public Library Director of Readers’ Services Kaite Stover for a spirited discussion about Erich Maria Remarque’s literary war classic. During World War I, Paul Baumer enlists with his classmates in the German army. Youthful and enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they fracture under the first bombardment in the trenches. Those interested in joining the conversation should register at kaitestover@kclibrary.org or 816.701.3683.

  

Film: The Woman and the Stranger [Die Frau und der Fremde]
(1985; NR)

Saturday, September 20 - 8:00 p.m.
National World War I Museum


Karl and Richard, two German soldiers captured by the Russians on the Eastern Front, become very close friends—so close that Richard shares intimate stories with Karl about his wife, Anna. Through these stories, Karl falls in love with Anna. When he escapes, he goes to Richard’s home. Anna knows he is not her husband and tries to resist Karl’s love, but feels a growing response to him. Then, one day, Richard returns. In German, with subtitles. Co-sponsored by Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft.

  

A Star for Mrs. Blake - April Smith
Wednesday, September 24 - 6:30 p.m.
National World War I Museum


In 1929 Congress passed legislation to fund travel for mothers of fallen U.S. soldiers of World War I to visit their sons’ graves in France. Over the next three years, 6,693 Gold Star Mothers made the trip. In this emotionally charged novel, April Smith breathes life into a unique moment in American history, imagining the experience of five of these women. A special “In the Spotlight” exhibit at the National World War I Museum highlights the pilgrimage to France in 1932 made by Gold Star Mother Julia Underwood.

  

Meet the Past: Ernest Hemingway
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 6:30 p.m.
Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Rd.
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Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III returns for a conversation with a young, brash, and bold Ernest Hemingway, portrayed by local actor Rusty Sneary, co-founder/co-owner/artistic director of The Living Room Theatre. The program will be taped by KCPT for later broadcast. Please Note: You MUST RSVP in order to be admitted to this event. Your RSVP entitles you to the specified number of general admission tickets. Tickets may be picked up at the Union Station ticket office starting at 5 p.m. on the day of the event.

  

Friday Night Family Fun - Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I’s Bravest Dog
Friday, October 3, 2014 - 6:30 p.m.
Plaza Branch
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Adopted as the mascot of the U.S. Army’s 102nd Infantry regiment, Stubby the dog became a comrade-in-arms. Ann Bausum recounts the remarkable life of this courageous canine, who served on 17 battlefields, suffered wounds from crossfire, became a national celebrity, met three presidents, and found a best friend in American soldier J. Robert Conroy.

  

Dark Invasion 1915: Germany’s Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America - Howard Blum
Wednesday, October 8 - 6:30 p.m.
Central Library
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In Dark Invasion 1915, a New York City policeman uncovers a German plot to sabotage ships, factories, and even J.P Morgan himself. Howard Blum tells a gripping, true story of espionage and terror on American soil during World War I and the Irish cop who hunted for the conspirators among a population of more than 8 million Germans.

  

Great Songs of WWI - Michael Lasser
Sunday, October 12 - 2:00 p.m.
Plaza Branch
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Before the birth of Kansas City jazz, the musical community served up ragtime and blues. In 1917, the military-themed anthem “Over There” became a nationwide hit following America’s entry into the war. Peabody Award-winning radio personality Michael Lasser explores the popular songs inspired by World War I, many of which we still hum today.

  

The First World War in the Middle East - Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
Wednesday, October 15 - 6:30 p.m.
Central Library
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It’s easy to think of World War I as a European war, but fierce fighting all over the Middle East brought about great changes on socio-economic, cultural, and political levels. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen explores the lasting impact of the Great War on the region’s political geography in The First World War in the Middle East, and shows how national identities were formed as the Ottoman Empire disintegrated.


THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS

Major funding for programs at the Kansas City Public Library is provided by a generous grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation with additional funding for The Great War | Great Read provided by the Bradbury Speaker Series, established in honor of retired library Director Daniel J. Bradbury with the support of the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The National World War I Museum recognizes the generous support of Shook Hardy & Bacon through the Charles Bacon Fund. In addition, Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft, the German Studies Association, The Kansas City Star, the Truman Library Institute and Union Station are also supporters of The Great War | Great Read.