Dazzling in its originality, Rites of Spring probes the origins, impact, and aftermath of World War I, from the premiere of Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring in 1913 to the death of Hitler in 1945. "The Great War," as Modris Eksteins writes, "was the psychological turning point . . . for modernism as a whole. The urge to create and the urge to destroy had changed places."
Eksteins goes on to chart the seismic shifts in human consciousness brought about by this great cataclysm through the lives and words of ordinary people, works of literature, and such events as Lindbergh's transatlantic flight and the publication of the first modern bestseller, All Quiet on the Western Front.
Rites of Spring is a remarkable and rare work, a cultural history that redefines the way we look at our past and toward our future.