Book Rec: Rites of Spring by Modris Eksteins

Book Rec: Rites of Spring by Modris Eksteins Surely there is no shortage of books about the events leading to World War I and, in turn, World War II. I know I had to acquire nine such texts for a class on Modernism last semester. I figure, if you have to choose one of these books to keep on your shelf and you're not a historian/researcher, it might as well be one that's a joy to read. Rites of Spring by Modris Eksteins is just as concerned with style as it is about the facts, providing both in as an enjoyable a fashion as a book that delves into war and genocide can be. The book opens with The Rites of Spring by Stravinski, introducing all the major players that brought them to life. Eksteins doesn't just stop at the simple facts (he choreographed, he danced the lead, she claimed their was a riot), he goes into historical references to the gossip of the time (he's sleeping with him, his wife left him when he went wacky). These diversions are so ingrained in the style of the text (and heavily referenced as well) that they don't act as distractions. The approach to the material remains consistent throughout the book even if the style shifts in appropriate ways to deal with the more somber topics. I know historians would disagree (this became a major debate with my historian/professor last semester), but I would say if I had to recommend one book that covers the basics of pre-War/WWI/interwar/WWII/fall of Hitler, it would be Rites of Spring by Modris Eksteins. This book is informative and a pleasure to read.

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