THE WORLD AFLAME

THE STORY OF ONE OF HIS­TORY’S DARK­EST PE­RI­ODS IS TOLD THROUGH BEAU­TI­FUL AND IN­SPIR­ING ARTISTRY, WITH HARD-HIT­TING NAR­RA­TIVE

History of War - - REVIEWS -

The World Aflame is the sec­ond col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Bri­tish his­to­rian Dan Jones and Brazil­ian artist Ma­rina Amaral, fol­low­ing the pair’s hugely suc­cess­ful The Colour Of Time. Tak­ing the same for­mat, bal­anc­ing re­colourised photograph­y with writ­ten nar­ra­tive, this time the fo­cus is on the dark pe­riod of the first half of the 20th cen­tury, be­tween 1914 and 1945. The

World Aflame con­tains 200 stun­ning pho­to­graphs from across both world wars – some iconic, but also many less well-known but none­the­less in­ti­mate and en­gag­ing snap­shots in time. Each im­age is ac­com­pa­nied by a de­tailed ac­count of his­tor­i­cal con­text and ex­pla­na­tion, tak­ing the reader on the nar­ra­tive jour­ney across the decades. Jones pro­vides es­sen­tial de­tails, high­light­ing key bat­tles and land­mark events with in­sight­ful commentary and fac­tual de­scrip­tion.

Though adding colour to mono­chrome pho­tos has long been the sub­ject of de­bate – with some sug­gest­ing it does not add any­thing, or even that it is dis­re­spect­ful to his­tor­i­cal images – there is no ques­tion that Amaral brings a vis­ceral and at times bru­tal re­al­ism to the pho­tos. It is clear there has been a huge amount of metic­u­lous re­search be­hind each treat­ment, and the de­tails that the ad­di­tion of colour un­locks is en­gross­ing. Once again, Jones and Amaral com­ple­ment each other fan­tas­ti­cally, pro­vid­ing a vis­ual and writ­ten nar­ra­tive that con­nects the two World Wars, as well as the many other con­flicts be­tween. This demon­strates the the­ory of the ‘Thirty-years’ or ‘Long-war’, dur­ing which im­mea­sur­able change im­pacted the en­tire world. Awe-in­spir­ing, of­ten emo­tional and at times breath­tak­ing, this is a wor­thy ad­di­tion for any his­to­rian’s shelves.

Au­thors: Dan Jones, Ma­rina Amaral, with Mark Hawkins-dady Pub­lisher: Head of Zeus Price: £25.00 Re­leased: Out now

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