• Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision LED to the Creation of WWI's War Graves See large image

    Empires of the Dead: How One Man's Vision LED to the Creation of WWI's War Graves (HarperPress) (Hardback) By (author) David Crane


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    DescriptionShortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction; the extraordinary and forgotten story behind the building of the First World War cemeteries, due to the efforts of one remarkable and visionary man, Fabian Ware. Before WWI, little provision was made for the burial of the war dead. Soldiers were often unceremoniously dumped in a mass grave; officers shipped home for burial. The great cemeteries of WWI came about as a result of the efforts of one inspired visionary. In 1914, Fabian Ware joined the Red Cross, working on the frontline in France. Horrified by the hasty burials, he recorded the identity and position of the graves. His work was officially recognised, with a Graves Registration Commission being set up. As reports of their work became public, the Commission was flooded with letters from grieving relatives around the world. Critically acclaimed author David Crane gives a profoundly moving account of the creation of the great citadels to the dead, which involved leading figures of the day, including Rudyard Kipling. It is the story of cynical politicking, as governments sought to justify the sacrifice, as well as the grief of nations, following the 'war to end all wars'.

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    Highly Recommended4

    Geoffrey Barber Having visited the war graves in France in 2012 I found this book absolutely fascinating. It opened my eyes to the story behind the cemeteries and the ideas that they represent. Now I am keen to go back to see them again. However, I think you would have need to have visited the WW1 cemeteries in France to really appreciate this book. I just wish there had been some discussion in the book about the history of the German cemeteries, as they are very different and there must be a story behind that as well. by Geoffrey Barber

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