The First World War | Newberry

The First World War

Led by Frank Biletz. Ten sessions, 1 - 3 pm (Section A) or 5:45 - 7:45 pm (Section B)
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Tuesdays, February 13 - April 24 (class will not meet March 6)

1 - 3 pm (Section A) 5:45 - 7:45 pm (Section B)

Cost and Registration Information

Early Registration Price (January 9 at 10 am – January 26 at 4 pm): $285
Regular Registration Price (January 26 at 4 pm – first day of class): $313.5

Members, seniors, and students get a 10% discount.

Section A is full. Please call (312) 255-3700 to be added to the wait list.
Online registration for Section B is closed, but you can still register by phone. Please call (312) 255-3700 to do so.

Excuse our dust!

Beginning January 2018 the Newberry will be undertaking renovation of much of the first floor. The Adult Education Seminars Program will still have use of the basement classrooms, but please check this link frequently for the latest conditions - which exterior doors are open or closed, where to find an accessible entrance, which restrooms are available, etc.

Because of the renovation, the Newberry Bookstore will be closed during the Winter/Spring and Summer 2018 terms. As such, seminar participants will be responsible for acquiring all required texts for their seminars on their own. We apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, and appreciate your understanding. We have put together a list of helpful resources that should make it easy to find the books you need.

Seminar Description

The First World War transformed the European political and social order, as well its cultural life, completely and irrevocably. As centennial commemorations mark the war’s major events, this course will treat such topics as the causes of the conflict, the major military campaigns on both Eastern and Western fronts as well as in Africa and Asia, the nature of trench warfare, the effects of the war on the status of women, American involvement, and the Paris Peace Conference. Ten sessions.

Frank A. Biletz received his PhD in history from the University of Chicago, with a primary specialization in modern British and Irish history. He is currently adjunct instructor in history at Loyola University Chicago and has been teaching seminars at the Newberry since 1994.

Materials List


  • Susan Grayzel, The First World War: A Brief History with Documents. Boston and New York: Bedford/St.Martin’s 2013. ISBN#: 978-0312-458874.
  • Ernst Jünger, Storm of Steel. Penguin Classics, 2004. ISBN#:978-0142437902.
  • John Keegan, The First World War. New York: Vintage Books, 2000. ISBN#: 978-0375700453.

First Reading:

For the first class, please read:

  • Chapter one of John Keegan’s book, The First World War.
  • “Part One: Introduction” of the volume edited by Susan Grayzel, The First World War: A Brief History with Documents.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about our registration procedures.