The author has established a reputation for detailed knowledge of the Great War and has interviewed more than 270 veterans, writing seventeen books on the subject. An excellent account that makes great use of the actual words of the survivors of a campaign that epitomizes the Great War. These words are accompanied by a wealth of images that span the stages of the campaign – Highly Recommended.
As we come toward the centenary of the end of WWI, there are still books appearing that challenge and provide fresh insight, new detail, new conclusions. The last soldier of the war is dead, the conditions of the trenches are no longer a distant memory, but a distant impression. There is still much to be seen from walking the battlefields, but the hideous scar of mud that ran from the Chanel to Switzerland is gone, leaving only the scattered and muted remanents of the War To End All Wars that was really a war to launch more wars. The remains of soldiers are still being recovered, many are identified by modern forensics and all are being reburied with military honours. The author has not come casually into the business of centenary books. He has a long established commitment to the subject of the Great War and his work has been based on interviewing survivors as a key part of research. The result is an account that is moving and inspiring and humbling. It provides a picture across the ranks of soldiers who fought and survived in the most terrible and traumatic conditions. The camera had gone to battle during the American Civil War and revolutionized the reporting of war. What was all the more remarkable about the Great War was that cameras were in widespread use by the soldiers themselves, in addition to the thousands of images captured by war photographers and correspondents. Considering the conditions, it is amazing that so many images were taken, processed and maintained for decades. Here, some 170 rare images appear together in a single volume to great effect. Now that the soldiers and their children have passed, readers come to the subject without any form of direct exposure to what was a very new and deadly type of war. The many books on the subject are frequently monographs that look at the campaigns and battles from outside. They are usually accurate and present the dates and times and casualties, but few really present the experience of that war. Only the survivors can describe what it was like. Only the soldiers photographs can provide glimpses into a world that is far removed from the experiences of the readers.