The armies that marched to war in 1914 were unique in composition, spirit and outlook. Modern warfare demanded the mobilisation of the entire population and the recruitment of a socially diverse citizen-army; how would the innocent generation respond to the horrors of the trenches? Malcolm Brown's book conveys the spirit of the British Tommy, weaving a concise analysis of the British army in the First World War with first-hand accounts taken from uncensored letters and diaries. He leads us from initial impact of mobilisation, through long years of trench warfare, and on to the euphoria and relief of victory. The eloquence, humanity and humour of the British soldier shine through and the work stands as a moving tribute to a lost and valiant generation. Yet war is a time of contradictions, and alongside the image of the 'noble Tommy' we are presented with forthright criticisms of the conditions at the front, and more disturbingly, while many had no personal animosity towards the Germans, a taste of the bloodlust that was awakened in these unlikely warriors.
Tempus Publishing Ltd
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