Historian and Bram Stoker Award Nominee W. Scott Poole traces the confluence of military history, technology, and art that gave us modern horror films and literature.
From Nosferatu to Frankenstein’s monster, from Fritz Lang to James Whale, the touchstones of horror can all trace their roots to the bloodshed of the First World War. Bram Stoker Award nominee W. Scott Poole traces the confluence of military history, technology, and art in the wake of World War I to show how overwhelming carnage gave birth to a wholly new art form: modern horror films and literature.
"Thoroughly engrossing cultural study . . . Poole persuasively argues that the birth of horror as a genre is rooted in the unprecedented destruction and carnage of WWI." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for Wasteland
The Washington Post, One of the Best Books to Take You Off the Beaten Track
Unbound Worlds, One of the Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of October 2018
"Wasteland, W. Scott Poole’s exploration of some of the Great War’s consequences for popular art, is fully attuned to the conflict’s devastating psychological impact . . . Highly persuasive . . . Poole’s general conclusions about World War I’s transformation into art, and the process of psychological displacement that accompanied it, are incontestable." ―D.J. Taylor, The Wall Street Journal
"By approaching horror less like a film or literary genre and more as a mode of storytelling, Poole casts a wide net for his admittedly bitter history. Wasteland explores the postwar output of writers, poets, painters, and filmmakers alike, moving neatly between the works of artists from Franz Kafka to James Whale. He also draws direct connections between emerging horror icons and the medicine and machinery that allowed more than 40 million people to die during the war . . . A must-read for those chasing our own cultural demons, real or imagined." ––Matthew Monagle, The Austin Chronicle
"W. Scott Poole makes a compelling case that [the First World War] launched a great age of horror fiction . . . Poole has made an important contribution to cultural history. Wasteland reveals how horror stories can have even darker roots." ––Bryan Alexander, Reason
"Tackling the indescribable horrors of wartime is a delicate but necessary task, as Poole ventures in his latest title. Beginning with the Great War, the author exhaustively discusses the influences each era’s war had on their directors, writers, actors and audiences of the horror genre, all while giving history lessons of the war in tow." ―Fangoria
"Poole writes with empathic insight . . . The arc of Wasteland spans wide across the arts . . . He writes fluidly and with sharp intent about the traumatized and boundary shattering anxieties shot through the work of the postwar surrealists, the war-inflected apocalyptic racist horror of Lovecraft, and what he sees as the shadow of war in the fiction of Kafka . . . His skilled knitting together of a broad range of genres and the spirit of unease permeating them all carries its own salient kind of moral horror." ―Chris Barsanti, Rain Taxi
Dimensions: 6 x 0.75 x 9 inches
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