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Museum to continue WWI programming with community book discussion

By Staff | Sep 8, 2017

Submitted photo This photo, taken during World War I, is of Alvin and Robert Johnson, of Rolette. The Prairie Village Museum will continue its WWI programming with a discussion on the book “Fear” on Sunday, Oct. 1, in the Heart of America Library basement.

Prairie Village Museum and Heart of America Library are inviting all readers to join in a community book discussion of Gabriel Chevallier’s WWI novel, “Fear,” at 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 1, at Heart of America Library, Rugby.

The discussion will be led by Vietnam-era army veteran Ron Montonye, Willow City, and museum collections manager Stephanie Steinke. The discussion is open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by Friends of Prairie Village Museum.

This is the first of two community book discussions planned as part of the museum’s 2017-18 WWI programming. Two WWI lectures are planned this fall as well.

“When searching through WWI novels to read I was looking for something new,” Steinke said, “something no one had read in school or seen made into a movie. ‘Fear’ ticked all those boxes. It was only translated out of the original French in 2011.”

Main character Jean Dartemont, who feels his “primary occupation during the war was fear,” finds it hard to cut through civilians’ perceptions and explain to them that the war isn’t at all like what they’ve been led to believe. “The other characters make Jean feel as if his war experiences aren’t real because his experiences don’t live up to their ideals,” Steinke said.

“Trench warfare in WWI was brutal and the advent of mass media gave the public easy access to messaging and propaganda,” Steinke said. “When soldiers returned home, their experiences were often much different than what was portrayed in newsreels This is the tension that carries throughout the book: the veteran experience vs. the patriotic ideal.”

The museum’s WWI programming will continue with a lecture by University of North Dakota history professor emeritus Dr. Gordon Isminger at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 22, at Prairie Village Museum. Isminger will share information on the role Germans from Russia played in WWI and North Dakota’s entry into the war.

On Sunday, Nov. 12, Glenn Blackaby, director of the Dakota Territory Air Museum, Minot, will speak on the “Changing Roles of WWI Pilots and Their Planes.” The program will start 2 p.m. at the museum.

All programs are free and open to the public. The programming is supported in part by a World War I and America grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and other organizations.

For more information, visit the museum website at www.prairievillagemuseum.com.

– Prairie Village Museum

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