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This December marks not only the 100-year anniversary of World War I’s Christmas Truce, but also the fourth month in Evanston Public Library’s year of programming designed to engage with the history of World War I and its place in today’s world a century later. The Library and the Evanston History Center collaborate to screen films, host speakers and discuss books that pertain to the Great War.
Many of the Library’s current programs have taken on the World War I theme this year. On Dec. 28, the Library will screen “The Big Parade,” a silent film chronicling a young soldier’s story from the front lines.
The African American literature book group, run by EPL Head of Adult Services Lesley Williams, is reading about the Harlem Hellfighters – the first all-black regiment in World War I – for its February meeting. Also in February, the Chicago Avenue/Main Street Branch group will look at “Birds Without Wings,” by Louis de Bernieres, a book about a Muslim and Christian Turkish village ravaged by the war. Ms. Williams named this book as one of her all-time favorites.
The program coordinators have devised a resource guide for teachers and parents that has garnered positive responses.
“World War I is sometimes referred to as ‘the forgotten war’ for Americans; we were involved for barely a year, and little about it resonates for Americans like Pearl Harbor or the Holocaust. However, World War I essentially created the modern nation state,” Ms. Williams said. A full schedule of events can be found at epl.org.