Wasteland: The Great War and the Origins of Modern Horror (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The period between WWI and WWII was full of fear, submission, and gratuitous excess. Unlike Poe's brooding supernatural horror, a new horror was born from the atrocities witnessed by French, British and German soldiers. Those who had a creative outlet, and means to exorcise what they'd witnessed began creating works of art and horror unlike anything before. WASTELAND tells us how artist Otto Dix, poet T.S. Eliot, short story writer HP Lovecraft, filmmakers Fritz Lang, F.W. Murnau, Robert Weine, and James Whale created a new kind of horror from the massive death and destruction of the Great War. From Caligari to the Wolfman, Poole lays out the foundations of modern horror cinema in this wonderfully informative book. I could not get enough!

— TJ

November 2018 Indie Next List

Wasteland is as breathtaking as it is sensitive. The backdrop of bloodshed that is the Great War is almost its own character in Poole’s writing. The early lives and war experiences of each man lend themselves so well to the dissection of the works produced by those who returned but never really came back. Poole’s latest is dead on with sharp analysis and drinkable prose as he illustrates the hunger for horror, the almost compulsive need to relive and re-experience the trauma, and the irrevocable mark on the landscape of our psychology and pop culture.”
— Bethany Kibblesmith, The Book Table, Oak Park, IL


Historian and Bram Stoker Award nominee W. Scott Poole traces the confluence of history, technology, and art that gave us modern horror films and literature

In the early twentieth century, World War I was the most devastating event humanity had yet experienced. New machines of war left tens of millions killed or wounded in the most grotesque of ways. The Great War remade the world's map, created new global powers, and brought forth some of the biggest problems still facing us today. But it also birthed a new art form: the horror film, made from the fears of a generation ruined by war.
From Nosferatu to Frankenstein's monster and the Wolf Man, from Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau, and Albin Grau to Tod Browning and James Whale, the touchstones of horror can all trace their roots to the bloodshed of the First World War. Historian W. Scott Poole chronicles these major figures and the many movements they influenced. Wasteland reveals how bloody battlefields, the fear of the corpse, and a growing darkness made their way into the deepest corners of our psyche.
On the one-hundredth anniversary of the signing of the armistice that brought World War I to a close, W. Scott Poole takes us behind the front lines of battle to a no-man's-land where the legacy of the War to End All Wars lives on.

About the Author

W. SCOTT POOLE is a professor of history at the College of Charleston who teaches and writes about horror and popular culture. His past books include th award-winning Monsters in America and the biography Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror. He is a Bram Stoker Award nominee for his critically acclaimed biography of H. P. Lovecraft, In the Mountains of Madness.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781640090934
ISBN-10: 1640090932
Publisher: Counterpoint LLC
Publication Date: October 16th, 2018
Pages: 304
Language: English