The Sonic Experience of World War One (Hardcover)

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How do we study the sonic nature of war when very few of these sounds remain?

World War One has left little sonic trace other than the popular music of the time. The sounds of World War One extended beyond sounds of entertainment and into the killing fields of the Western Front, the oceans of the world, and for the first time into the skies with the development of aviation. But beyond this, they entered into peoples homes, their streets, and indeed their thoughts, emotions, and feelings.

Book-length studies exist on the sounds of many other recent major wars, but there is a lack of sonic coverage of World War One. Here, Michael Bull investigates the sounds of war as experienced by those who participated in it by drawing upon a wide range of written testament of the time. These written "voices" are subjective, living memories expressed as fragmentary, often unreliable testimony but provide us with the only living sonic testimony of the time. The book filters these accounts through the technologies of "total war," from the trench whistle to the tank, from the newly developed airplane to the submarine. It asks: how did the wartime population experience these sounds and what were the physical and cognitive consequences of the implementation and use of these often invasive technologies of destruction, instruction and sometimes protection? In doing so, the the book re-evaluates just how we should understand the sounds of World War One and the sounds of war more generally.

About the Author

Michael Bull is Professor of Sound Studies at the University of Sussex, UK. He is series editor of the Study of Sound series with Bloomsbury and author of the book Sirens (2020) in this series. He is a founding editor of The Senses and Society Journal and The Sound Studies Journal, and founding member of the European Sound Studies Association. He is author of numerous academic books including The Auditory Culture Reader 2/e (Bloomsbury 2015), Sound Moves (2007), Sounding Out the City (Bloomsbury 2000) and editor of the Routledge Companion to Sound Studies (2017).

Product Details
ISBN: 9781501366284
ISBN-10: 1501366289
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication Date: May 1st, 2025
Pages: 224
Language: English