Your Death Would Be Mine
Paul and Marie Pireaud in the Great War
Harvard University Press
Winner of the 2007 J. Russell Major Prize of the American Historical Association
Paul and Marie Pireaud, a young peasant couple from southwest France, were newlyweds when World War I erupted. With Paul in the army from 1914 through 1919, they were forced to conduct their marriage mostly by correspondence. Drawing upon the hundreds of letters they wrote, Martha Hanna tells their moving story and reveals a powerful and personal perspective on war.
Overwhelmed by one of the most tumultuous upheavals of the modern age, Paul and Marie found solace in family and strength in passion. Theirs is a human story of loneliness and longing, fear in the face of death, and the consolations of love. Your Death Would Be Mine is a poignant tale of ordinary people coping with the trauma of war.
Praise for Your Death Would Be Mine
…a fascinating look at one peasant couple separated and in love, compelled to carry on their marriage by correspondence.
—George Cohen, Booklist, starred review
Martha Hanna achieves the remarkable feat of connecting the lives of two people to the events of a world war. This accomplishment is all the more impressive for her ability to never lose sight of either the small or big picture. This deftly written and elegantly crafted book reminds us of how war deeply affects everyone, from the front line to the home front.
—Michael S. Neiberg, author of Fighting the Great War
A vivid picture of the Great War seen from below which illustrates the view, popular now for a generation or so, that it is not events but people who make history.
—David Coward London Review of Books