The Home Front Encyclopedia

United States, Britain, and Canada in World Wars I and II

by James Ciment, Editor
Thaddeus Russell, Contributing Editor


Rosie the Riveter. Trench warfare. Victory gardens. The Western Front. "Over There" and "We'll Meet Again." Londoners under the blitz, Japanese-American internment, exuberant couples kissing on VJ Day. Wartime life at home has provided some of our most indelible stories and images. Now, one reference source captures the complete story of how the two world wars changed our way of life forever.

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December 2006


Pages 1478
Volumes 3
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Military History/General
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    Hardcover: £227.00/245,00€/A$377.00

This definitive reference work covers the complete transformation of American, Canadian, and British societies during the two world wars, including all aspects of working, recreational, and cultural life during wartime.

The Home Front Encyclopedia: United States, Britain, and Canada in World Wars I and II is the first scholarly work devoted exclusively to the utter transformation of American, Canadian, and British societies in those pivotal years. Other works have looked at developments in wartime life—government agencies, economic mobilization—but this encyclopedia is the first to focus on how the wars permeated every aspect of life. Coverage includes such fundamental issues as shifting sexual mores, era-defining musical genres (jazz in World War I, swing in World War II), and the exploding popularity of baseball, boxing, comics, movies, and radio. It also encompasses the decidedly unheroic moments of the times (racial violence, censorship, labor conflicts).

The Home Front Encyclopedia is a uniquely insightful, culturally attuned volume where Bernard Baruch, Jane Addams, Henry Stimson, and Gunnar Myrdal share space with Charlie Chaplin, Billy Sunday, Joe Louis, Vera Lynn, and Kate Smith. At last, these seminal aspects of the most momentous events of the 20th century get the definitive reference they deserve.


  • Nearly 700 alphabetically organized entries on all aspects of life on the home front during the world wars, including biographies and accounts of cities and regions, cultural phenomena (movies, music, and literature), ethnic groups, key events (elections, strikes, mobilization efforts), government agencies, and private institutions
  • More than 100 expert contributors from the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, including specialists in politics, economics, sociology, and popular culture
  • Chronologies of important events in both World Wars I and II
  • A selection of primary sources, including speeches, official documents, propaganda, journalism, and personal correspondence, plus a wealth of historical images (photographs, propaganda posters, editorial cartoons)


  • Complements coverage of the United States with entries on Canada and Great Britain, with roughly one-third of the encyclopedia covering the home fronts in the latter two nations
  • Traces the interrelationship of various elements within wartime America, for example, cross-referencing the Great Migration of African Americans and the War Labor Board with entries on the movement of jazz from New Orleans to northern cities
  • Examines the impact of war on racial and ethnic communities, women, youth, laborers, entertainers, and others, as well as the impact of these groups on life on the home front
  • Shows the effects of the defining military and diplomatic developments of the world wars on the home front
Author Info

James Ciment is an independent scholar in Los Angeles, CA. His published works include Encyclopedia of American Immigration and Encyclopedia of Third Parties in America, which won the Best Reference award from Library Journal and the Editors' Choice award from Booklist.

Thaddeus Russell is assistant professor of history at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY. His dissertation, Out of the Jungle: Jimmy Hoffa and the Remaking of the American Working Class, was an official nominee for the prestigious Bancroft Prize and was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2001.



"Recommended. Lower- /upper-level undergraduates and general readers."Choice

"this is a good choice for libraries wanting a broader perspective on the World Wars reflected in their reference collections."Against the Grain

"Undergraduates at an academic library would find it useful for background information as well as for the bibliographies. It would also be an excellent resource for large public libraries."Booklist

"This would be a good research tool for high school and college students."ARBA

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