With novelistic virtuosity, historian Daniel Schönpflug describes the watershed year of 1918 as it was experienced on the ground. Told from the vantage points of people, famous and ordinary, good and evil, who lived through the turmoil at the end of World War I, and combining a multitude of acutely observed details, Schönpflug composes a brilliantly conceived panorama of a world suspended between enthusiasm and disappointment, and of a moment in which the window of opportunity was suddenly open, only to quickly close shut once again. The sculptor Käthe Kollwitz, whose son died in the war, was translating sorrow and loss into art. Ho Chi Minh was working as a dishwasher in Paris and dreaming of liberating Vietnam, his homeland. Captain Harry S. Truman was running a men's haberdashery in Kansas City, hardly expecting that he was about to go bankrupt - and later become president of the United States
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