The Biography of Captain Bruce Bairnsfather, in Search of the Better ‘Ole

B2174

The authors founded a Battlefield Tours company in 1978. They ran this successful company until some twenty years ago when they sold up to concentrate on writing. Given their experience in guiding visitors around the WWI battlefields of the Western Front, it is perhaps unsurprising that they should write some of the most informative and popular guide books. They have also written about related topics, including an acclaimed series of military biographies. Their biography of Rudyard Kipling’s son John was sensitive and moving, as were their biographies of Poets of the Great War. During this research, writing, and collection of postcards of the period, they came across the fascinating story of Bruce Bairnsfather and this book provides a unique review of his sketches and cartoons. This is an absorbing story and will appeal to a wide range of readers because of the scope of the topics.

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Battle Lines, The Western Frontby Car by Bike and On Foot, The Retreat From Mons 1914: South, Etreux to the Marne

B2173

A valuable addition to an excellent series that provides the history, the background and the current environment of the start of a terrible conflict, where British arms produced a form of victory from what seemed inevitable defeat, as the tiny BEF battled a very much larger German force. The book provides a first class guide for all those who wish to know more about the events and the people and who may intend to visit the battlefields.

This book is highly commended and will satisfy a range of readers.

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Over The Top, Alternative Histories of the First World War

B2172

It is never easy to classify this type of book because it is based on non-fiction but provides what is a fictional alternative history. The approach is entirely valid because history is a series of events that only produced their final story as a series of factors and decisions came together against a background of other events, the local terrain, and the weather. Any small variation in one of perhaps hundreds of elements could have produced an entirely different outcome and shaped a whole series of subsequent events. The text offers some credible alternatives to what actually happened and is based on careful research. There are some good images in the photo plate section and the book will appeal to both the enthusiast and the general reader.

This book provides some credible and compelling alternatives, based on wartime plans and events. A provoking new look at what might have been.

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Mister Browrigg’s Boys, Magdalen College School and the Great War

B2171

This book is a story of a system of education, of a society that it was set in but, above all, it is the story of fifty boys who lost their lives in terrible conflict that so scared a generation that it was considered the War to End All Wars, only to lead on to a second terrible conflict.

The text captures attention and the illustrations fully support the text. Each reader will take away something unique and be pleased to have devoted time to read the story.

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The Underground War, Vimy Ridge to Arras

B2169

This book is the first of four planned volumes. When all four volumes become available, the much avoided, but important, subject of underground warfare on the Western Front will have been effectively completed for the first time. This first volume is comprehensive and balanced, drawing on material from both British and German archives. The very high standard of illustration is important to the support of the text. Can’t wait for the next volumes!!!!

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Escaping from the Kaiser, The Dramatic Experiences of a Tommy PoW

B2168

One of the most enjoyable aspects of anniversary publishing is that it brings to print stories that somehow have been missed by authors and historians, or were printed at that long past time and then faded from the book shelves. A great deal has been written about WWII POWs. Much of this coverage has been by British publishers and concentrated on British POWs, mentioning the exploits of other nationalities almost in passing. Very little has been written about WWI POWs although they were at least as active and ingenious as their WWII equivalents. This autobiographical book as all the more welcome because it addresses this deficiency. It is also a cracking read that could be taken for a thriller novel. This is a book not to miss.

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Conscientious Objectors of the First World War, A Determined Resistance

B2167

In any centenary year, publishers churn out books to commemorate the date. The outbreak of WWI in 1914 has been no exception. With few exceptions, this event has produced a fine selection of books and, even where one campaign, or one battle, has been covered by several authors, each has offered fresh insight and provided a valuable additional book. This book fits into this situation. The author has covered a subject that continues to generate heated debate. It is also a subject that has received little balanced coverage. This book is well researched and presents credible arguments. It may do little to change established positions, but it provides the detail to consider positions. A book that deserves to be read.

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Reporting From The Front, War Reporters During The Great War

B2166

By the start of WWI, war reporters were present in some numbers. Stills photographers were almost as numerous, and the first war film cameramen were operating at the front. It was often a very dangerous job and casualties mounted. It provided a very broad coverage of action on land, sea and in the air. It began to change some of the practices of war and it produced huge amounts of material, some of which is only now being examined, 100 years after the events.

The descriptive and engaging text is strongly supported by a very interesting photo plate section. A very good book on a little-told story.

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