THE EXPERIENCE OF WORLD WAR I by J.M. Winter (Oxford: $29.95; 247 pp.)

A model of how radical graphic and conceptual design can bring perspective to a complex series of events, this creative book divides the brutal war into four periods, from 1914's "War of Illusions," to the revolutions of 1917, which ushered in an era, however ephemeral, of peace. Each period, in turn, is recounted four times--from the perspectives of politicians, generals, soldiers and civilians. This emphasis on the subjectivity of individual experience helps J .M. Winter avoid historical generalizations and allows him to explain the rationale--or lack thereof--behind key decisions.

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