The Great War: textbook collection

Nuffield library has an extensive and interesting amount of material on World War One on the 3rd floor. The following is a very small sample of material the library holds.

In the Oxford Collection (in the Current Affairs Room on the 1st floor) there is A century of Oxford by Malcolm Graham. This has a wonderful collection of photographs from the 20th century. The section on World War One illustrates the effect of war on university and city life. There are photographs of a tented hospital in New College gardens, a hospital in the Town Hall and wards and operating theatres in the Examination Schools. An enormous change is also illustrated by women working in munitions factories and as postwomen and ticket collectors, although they were expected to leave the workplace when the men returned from war.

In addition there is a recruiting sergeant encouraging men to enlist in September 1914 at St. Giles Fair. It mentions the enormous response at the beginning of the war might have been prompted by the “white feather campaigns” against those perceived as cowards as well as by patriotism. At that time no one thought the war would last into the next year so these young men really did not know what they were signing up for. Surprisingly there was no conscription until 1916; all were either regular soldiers or volunteers.

Some biographies illustrate the enormous changes after the war. Of the three monarchs (George V, Kaiser William II and Tsar Nicholas II), George V would be the only one of the three cousins alive and reigning after 1918. Anti-German feeling had caused George V to change the royal family’s name from the German sounding Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor. King George V by Kenneth Rose describes these moves including the changing of the names of relations of the royal family; Prince Louis of Battenberg took the name Mountbatten and became the Marquis of Milford Haven.

We also have works about other countries’ participation and reactions to the war. Woodrow Wilson and World War I: 1917-1921 by Robert H. Ferres contains information on America’s participation in the war. The spirit of 1914: militarism, myth and mobilization in Germany by Jeffrey Verney considers the war from a German point of view and July 1914: the long debate, 1918-1990 by John W. Langdon gives a variety of opinions of the causes and the effects of the war.

The origins of the First World War by James Joll offers an insight into the events of 1914 and in general the causes of the war. This volume concentrates on that fateful summer 100 years ago.

There have also been two recent purchases:

Margot Asquith’s Great War diary, 19141916. The wife of Britain’s Prime-Minister, H.H. Asquith, from 1908-1916 provides a fascinating view of the government and life in Downing Street during the first half of the war.

In addition we have just purchased First World War: still no end in sight by Frank Furedi which “argues that the battle of ideas which crystallizes during the course of the Great War continues to the present”.

The library even has a book on books on war! War books: a critical guide by Cyril Falls.


The Bodleian Library is also participating in the First World War centenary with an exhibition and talks.


A century of Oxford / Malcolm Graham (1999). Shelf mark: OXF DA 690.O98.G

King George V / Kenneth Rose (1983). Shelf mark: DA 573.R

Woodrow Wilson and World War I, 1917-1921 / Robert H. Ferrell (1985). Shelf mark: D 619.F

The spirit of 1914 : militarism, myth, and mobilization in Germany / Jeffrey Verhey (2000). Shelf mark: D 528.5.V

July 1914 : the long debate, 19181990John W. Langdon (1991). Shelf mark: D 511.L

The origins of the First World War / James Joll (1984). Shelf mark: D 511.J

Margot Asquith’s Great War diary, 19141916 : the view from Downing Street / selected and edited by Michael and Eleanor Brock (2014). Shelf mark: DA 566.9.O8.B

First World Warstill no end in sight / Frank Furedi (2014). Shelf mark: D 523.F

War books, a critical guide / Cyril Falls (1930). Shelf mark: D 521.F


About Nuffield College Library

We are a social sciences library serving Nuffield College and the University of Oxford
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