Tennessee's Experience during the First World War

  • Author(s): Birdwell, Michael E., editor
  • Series:
  • Imprint: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2024-01-15
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Hardcover - Printed Case: Price $62.00 | Buy Now
  • Available in PDF: Price $62.00 | Buy Now


“On the day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, was assassinated, Tennesseans worried about the weather,” Carole Bucy writes. Indeed, the war that began in Europe in 1914 was unimaginably remote from Tennessee—until it wasn’t.

Drawing on a depth of research into a wide array of topics, this vanguard collection of essays aims to conceptualize World War I through the lens of Tennessee. The book begins by situating life in Tennessee within the greater context of the war in Europe, recounting America’s growing involvement in the Great War. As the volume unfolds, editor Michael E. Birdwell and the contributors weave together soldier narratives, politics and agribusiness, African American history, and present-day recollections to paint a picture of Tennessee’s Great War experience that is both informative and gripping.

An essential addition to the broader historiography of the American experience during World War I, this collection of essays presents Tennessee stories that are close to home in more than just geography and lineage. By relating international conflict through the eyes of Tennessee’s own, Birdwell and the contributing authors provide new opportunities for academics and general readers alike to engage with the Great War from a unique and—until now—untold perspective.


MICHAEL E. BIRDWELL is a history professor at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. He is the author of Celluloid Soldiers: The Warner Bros. Campaign against Nazism. Along with W. Calvin Dickinson, he is also the coeditor of Rural Life and Culture in the Upper Cumberland and People of the Upper Cumberland: Achievements and Contradictions.