Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision LED to the Creation of WWI's War Graves (Paperback)
  • Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision LED to the Creation of WWI's War Graves (Paperback)
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Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision LED to the Creation of WWI's War Graves (Paperback)

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Paperback 304 Pages / Published: 27/03/2014
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Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction.

The extraordinary and forgotten story of the building of the World War One cemeteries, due to the efforts of one remarkable man, Fabian Ware.

In the wake of the First World War, Britain and her Empire faced the enormous question of how to bury the dead. Critically-acclaimed author David Crane describes how the horror of the slaughter motivated an ambulance commander named Fabian Ware to establish the Commonwealth war cemeteries.

Behind these famous monuments - the Cenotaph, Tyne Cot, Menin Gate, Etaples amongst them - lies a deeply moving story; 'Empires of the Dead' chronicles a generation coming to terms with grief on a colossal scale.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780007456680
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 320 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 24 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'Of the avalanche of books to commemorate the centennial of the opening of the Great War, 'Empires of the Dead' is the most original, best written and most challenging so far. Mercifully, it is also one of the shortest. It strikes at the heart of the current debate about what we are commemorating, celebrating or deploring in the flood of ceremony, debate and literary rows about the meaning of the First World War today. Crane succeeds in doing so by looking at the achievement of Fabian Ware, who to this day is almost an unknown in the pantheon of heroes or villains associated with the conflict' Evening Standard

'Outstanding ... Crane shows how extraordinary a physical, logistical and administrative feat it was to bury or commemorate more than half a million dead in individual graves. And he reveals that this Herculean task was accomplished largely due to the efforts of one man: Fabian Ware' Independent on Sunday

'Vivid and compelling ... David Crane writes exuberant, joyful prose. He is acutely aware of the ambiguities and nuances surrounding the issues of war and death; and that makes this a fine and troubling book, as well as a riveting read' Literary Review

'A superb study. The story of the foundation and achievements of the War Graves Commission has been told before, but never so well or so perceptively. Crane brings out the complexities of Ware's character ... his brilliance as a diplomat ... and the paradoxes in his achievement' Spectator

'The most original, shortest and best written of the year's tsunami of books on the impact of the Great War' Evening Standard, Books of the Year

'Excellent' Sunday Times

'Intensely moving' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'A beautifully researched and written book, an intellectually honest work of history' Guardian

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“The fascinating story behind the WW1 cemeteries”

The World War One cemeteries, particularly those in Northern France and Belgium, are now so synonymous with that conflict that it is difficult to appreciate how contentious these monuments to the dead were initially.... More

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