Jeremy Paxman sends his WWI book to 4,000 schools to counter 'anti-war sentiment in teaching'

Broadcaster is marking the centenary of the outbreak of WWI with gift to history teachers

‘One nation Tory’ Jeremy Paxman is marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War I in his own unique way – by sending his history book to over 4,000 secondary schools.

‘We are sending the Head of History in over 4,000 [state and independent] schools a complimentary copy of the book [Great Britain's Great War]” the presenter’s publisher, Penguin, told the Daily Mail.

The former face of Newsnight reportedly hopes to reverse what he sees as far too much emphasis on anti-war poetry and the downplaying of military achievements and courage.

"There is an opportunity for students to understand the First World War as relevant history, but teachers aren’t helped by an over-reliance on the poems of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen," he said.

"Poetry fails to answer the really interesting questions by glorifying the suffering of soldiers in the trenches.

"The big question is why Owen, after writing his anti-war poetry, and Sassoon, after his letter of protest [against the war], decided to go back and fight?

 

"We need to understand the full picture to see why this war was the defining event in modern British history."

Broadcaster Mr Paxman's book was published last year.

The books synopsis says it explains "why we fought [the war] so enthusiastically, how we endured it so doggedly and how it transformed everything, such as women's suffrage, new surgery techniques, lower-class 'officer gentlemen', a powerful press, sexually transmitted diseases and British Summer Time."

The famously outspoken television personality and journalist recently lamented that Newsnight, which he presented for 25 years, is made by idealistic “13-year-olds” while claiming to have been the last Conservative at the BBC.

READ MORE: 'Twitter is for empty-headed people', Paxman says
Paxman proves that there's no fool like an old fool
Boris Johnson rides a tandem with Jeremy Paxman
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: HR Administrator / Training Coordinator

COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: An HR Administrator / Training Coordinator is requi...

Belong: Trustee

This is a volunteer role: Belong: Could you help change lives and reduce crime...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Director - HR Operations

£49462 - £56975 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you interested in shaping t...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food