Landscapes at war : the book

Paysages en bataille: Les séquelles environnementales de la Grande Guerre (French Edition)

The last fighter from all nations of the First World War died in 2011. However, on the former front line, the Great War does not belong to the past. It is part of everyday life for those who work the land of former battlefields and gather every year, in the furrows dug by their tractors, shells and grenades that land spits. 


The reading of the Great War landscapes also reveals some disturbing "secrets". The soils and seas remain polluted for a long time by the conflict. And the 1918 Armistice did not stop the war continue to claim victims.How not to worry about these consequences?


But one can also marvel, as did in their time the Poilus, at the nature's extraordinary faculty to recover from the ravages suffered. All along of the 750 kilometers of the front, memory sites often became biodiversity islands, remnants of untouched nature in an intensely urbanized or cultivated land.


Isabelle Masson invites you to accompany her on a journey to the heart of landscape and environmental aftermath of the Great War. Her geographical and historical wanderings illustrate the intimate relationship between men and nature, during the conflict and until the present day.

"Paysages en Bataille", Isabelle Masson-Loodts, Nevicata Editions, 2014

Critics of the book

  • NEST: "This new book invites us to understand the environmental consequences of the Great War. A surprising book by Isabelle Masson-Loodts which we follow, with interest and passion, investigations and travels » Read more ...
  • "One day in history," La Première, RTBF: "Spend men remain the landscapes. Landscapes that still bear witness today of fighting havoc. 
  • On the blog "Wars and Conflicts": "(...) the author recounts his travels and field trips in different sectors of the front (mainly around Verdun and Flanders). It does this in a calm tone, with a simple and natural language, describing not only the sites, but too his meetings with very different subject specialists, with the NFB agents, with the locals. And she describes mostly what she sees, she tells her conversations, and expresses its questions, from chapter to chapter, the book advance. (...) A little book that tells an almost initiatory journey along the former front line. A testimony today in search of war yesterday. » Read more ...
  • Philippe Bertrand, Campaign Book, France Inter: "A very informative and very original book (...)" Listen to the program
  • "M" (old Marianne Belgium): "(...) one of the most interesting books and the most amazing I've read on the subject (...) Read more ...
  • France 3 Nord-Pas-de-Calais
  • Science & Avenir "(...) a fascinating investigation (...)"
  • Readers, on the site Babelio: "(...) the work of Masson-Loodts is an original input to address the memory of the Great War. This book reads very quickly, it is not thick, it is true, but mostly it is a study of the issue, its shape could pass for a fiction book or a story where we follow the journalist in his investigate the matter. It is very readable and very literary, in fact: there is a narration from when Isabelle Masson-Loodts-tells us the game trail that led the written sources to different specialists (historians, forest rangers, researchers) that give a different perspective on his research topic and also allow it to deepen. On the other hand, she peppers his narrative literary references of contemporary authors of War, who were on the front, which allows us back into the historical context while the investigation is done retrospectively, long after, with distance and detachment that entails. Finally, it does not hide the emotion felt when she went on the same towns; this does not diminish the documentary aspect of his work but adds, in my opinion the romantic appearance. His work on natural consequences of war can be read as an adventure to meet the memory to the conflict. (...) Read more reviews on Babelio.

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