World War One was the event that made modern Britain, Jeremy Paxman claims. If you have a pressing appointment, that’s the gist of what his hour talk, he jokes at the beginning, so you can leave now.
His ‘War. Germany. Act.’ event allows him to discuss his new book Great Britain’s Great War, which coincides with his recent documentary. What’s clear from the offset is his enthusiasm for the subject, so much so that it’s a far cry from the staid high school history lessons that many in the audience will remember.
He discusses the poetry of the era that he loves, looking at the stark contrast from the lines written at each end of the war. What was once positive and supportive of Britain’s war efforts gradually becomes disillusioned and embittered.