Library series to focus on World War I

It was called “the war to end all wars”; the First World War altered the course of a young 20th century, and this month marks the centenary of the war’s 1914 beginning.

To commemorate and examine the conflict, the Wilmette Public Library is offering its newest fall series, “The Great War,” beginning Sept. 10.

Wilmette area residents are invited to register for the series. Participants can review the far-ranging impact of the war and the origins of America’s entry into it. They’ll also be able to hear presentations by military and historical experts, take part in book discussions and even look at the war from a cinematic viewpoint, she said.

“We had done previous fall series on the Civil War and on the Muslim world, and we knew people found them historically interesting,” said library representative Nancy Wagner. “So when we realized this anniversary was coming up, we thought it was an excellent chance to tap into that interest again.”

Wagner said preparation for the series began this spring. She praised the First Division Museum at Cantigny, whose executive director, Paul Herbert, is the inaugural speaker, for its support.

“That connection has been great, and they’ve really wanted to work with us,” she said.

Herbert’s presentation, “World War I – How and Why the U.S. Got Involved,” begins at 7 p.m. Sept. 10.

Geneologist and author Jennifer Holik is the second series speaker, with an 11 a.m. Sept. 27 talk, “Military Geneology – Finishing the Story,” in which she covers the lives, service and deaths of three soldiers, and provides resources for further research.

Wagner also thanked Paul Grasmehr, reference coordinator at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago, saying, “The Pritzker [Museum] has been great with outreach, and I’m thrilled that he can take part.”

Grasmehr will lead two book discussions. At 7 p.m. Oct. 8, the group will discuss “Catastrophe 1914” by Max Hastings; On Nov. 12, the selection will be “Storm of Steel,” by Ernst Junger. Copes of both books are available at the library’s recent arrivals desk.

For those interested in how the First World War influenced film, film scholar Mike Smith will examine cinematic depictions of the war in “Mike at the Movies: Global Perspectives on WW I” at 2 p.m. Oct. 18.

The series concludes at 2 p.m. Dec. 7, with a presentation by DePaul University history professor Thomas Mockaitis. Mockaitis will talk about “Myths and Realities of World War One.”

For more information on the series, call Wagner at 847-256-6935, or email, nwagner@wilmettelibrary.info. Register for the programs via the Library’s online calendar at www.wilmettelibrary.info or call 847-256-6930.

WAR STORIES

WHAT: The Great War

ABOUT: First World War series

WHERE: Wilmette Public Library

INFO: www.wilmettelibrary.info

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