The Road To Passchedaele, The Heroic Year in Soldiers’ own Words and Photographs

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.