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Ian Beck

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The Same Madness by Michael Morpurgo

No modern writer has done more to remind us of the carnage, sacrifice and courage of World War I than Michael Morpurgo. Through his twin masterworks of Private Peaceful and War Horse, generations that might otherwise be ignorant of this man-made global catastrophe continue to learn and understand the lessons of the conflict, the reverberations from which are still being felt today.

Friday November 18th marks one hundred years since the conclusion of the Battle of the Somme, the five-month onslaught which resulted in the wounding or death of over one million men. Michael Morpurgo’s collection Only Remembered is a fitting tribute to many such terrible skirmishes of that war, bringing together a number of voices to form one, unified volume of remembrance.  The book features a luminous assembly of contributors, including Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, actors Joanna Lumley and Emma Thompson, authors Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Beevor, Jilly Cooper, Raymond Briggs and Malorie Blackman and a clutch of other leading lights from the worlds of media and sport. Illustrated by Ian Beck, royalties from the book will be split between the Royal British Legion and projects for soldiers' children and families at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

As Only Remembered shifts into its paperback incarnation, we were honoured by Michael’s offer to provide his thoughts around why a collection like this need exist. Suffice to say, the resulting piece is an extraordinary, vital read.

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