In 1960, the Imperial War Museum began a momentous and important task. A team of academics, archivists and volunteers set about tracing WWI veterans and interviewing them at length in order to record the experiences of ordinary individuals in war. The IWM aural archive has become the most important archive of its kind in the world. Authors have occasionally been granted access to the vaults, but digesting the thousands of hours of footage is a monumental task. Now, forty years on, the Imperial War Museum has at last given author Max Arthur and his team of researchers unlimited access to the complete WWI tapes. These are the forgotten voices of an entire generation of survivors of the Great War. The resulting book is an important, unique and compelling history of WWI in the words of those who experienced it. This is a classic for years to come.
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(198mm x 126mm x 21mm)
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
The so-called Great War was an inglorious affair, and will always make painful reading because of the terrible cost of young lives, millions of them, and the utter senselessness of starting it in the first place. The causes of this criminal catastrophe have never been satisfactorily explained, and in this book we have a selection of transcribed recordings and wireless broadcasts made by men who went through it all, up at the front. The immediacy of this anthology makes harrowing reading. To select and arrange this collection of observation and comment left by the war's survivors, the editor has opted for a chronological approach - the only possible pattern, if you think about it, since that was the way it happened. It is a compelling and disturbing book, with one horror piled upon another and leavened by a grim humour that only serves to expose the hopelessness of the whole tragic affair. By far the best commentator in the book is Rifleman Henry Williamson, who must be the same man who went on to write one of the great novels (and certainly the longest, at 16 volumes!) of the First World War, A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight. The military historian Max Arthur has made his selection with care, and has produced an anthology of on-the-spot reports which is at once revealing and unsettling. Most of the soldiers featured here were simple men who had acts of heroism thrust upon them and behaved with magnificent valour, often at the cost of their lives. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Max Arthur
Acclaimed author Max Arthur specialises in first hand recollections of historical events. Previous titles include The Manchester United Air Crash; Above All Courage; Northern Ireland Soldiers Talking; Men of the Red Beret;, There Shall Be Wings: The RAF 1918 to the Present; The True Glory: The Royal Navy 1914 to Present.