Tommy's War: A First World War Diary 1913-1918

Tommy's War: A First World War Diary 1913-1918

Book rating: 03 Hardback

By (author) Thomas Cairns Livingstone, Introduction by Andrew Marr

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Paperback $21.21
  • Publisher: HarperPress
  • Format: Hardback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 230mm x 33mm | 1,130g
  • Publication date: 15 September 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 000728067X
  • ISBN 13: 9780007280674
  • Illustrations note: 350 col illus, (Integrated colour images, to be scanned from original diaries and touched up)
  • Sales rank: 827,058

Product description

The extraordinary diaries of Thomas Cairns Livingstone represent twenty years of gorgeously idiosyncratic daily records of a middle-class Glasgow household, over a period spanning shortly before the Great War to the early 1930s. Thomas Cairns Livingstone, a mercantile book keeper, began his diaries in 1913, when he, his wife Agnes and their son 'wee Tommy' set up house in the Glasgow neighbourhood of Govanhill. For the next twenty years, Livingstone dutifully recorded each day's events in his Collins diaries, from small domestic dramas to troop movements as news of the Great War filtered back to the anxious home front. Rescued during a house clearance, the intricate details of these journals -- interspersed throughout with Livingstone's wonderfully warm and idiosyncratic illustrations -- provide a priceless record of the impression world events were making on the ordinary people at home and an extraordinary chronicle of the ups and downs of working-class life in the period immediately before, during and after the First World War. The details of the family's early life, notes about the (usually dreich) Glasgow weather, and comments on the carnage on the front and on the high seas, are written and illustrated with such warmth and charm that the story of this very ordinary household in the early part of the 20th century becomes completely addictive.

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Thomas Cairns Livingstone was a mercantile book keeper who began his diaries in 1913, when he, his wife Agnes and their son 'wee Tommy' set up house in the Glasgow neighbourhood of Govanhill. His diaries represent twenty years of gorgeously idiosyncratic daily records of a middle-class Glasgow household, over a period spanning shortly before the Great War to the early 1930s.

Customer reviews

By Mark Thwaite 10 Dec 2008 3

Wednesday January 1st 1913 saw "some little showers... but on the whole good weather." We know this because Thomas Cairns Livingstone began his diary, telling us about a family day out: "Got 11.29 train from Glasgow Cross to Langloan and spent the day in the bosom of the Crozier family. Very nice day... Were home at 11 p.m."
Rescued during a house clearance, the "intricate details of these journals -- interspersed throughout with Livingstone's wonderfully warm and idiosyncratic illustrations -- provide a priceless record of the impression world events were making on the ordinary people at home and an extraordinary chronicle of the ups and downs of working-class life in the period immediately before, during and after the First World War."
Thomas Cairns Livingstone, a mercantile book keeper, began his diaries in 1913, when he, his wife Agnes and their son 'wee Tommy' set up house in the Glasgow neighbourhood of Govanhill. For the next twenty years, Livingstone dutifully recorded each day's events in his Collins diaries, from small domestic dramas to troop movements as news of the Great War filtered back to the anxious home front. The details of the family's early life, notes about the (usually dreich) Glasgow weather, and comments on the carnage on the front and on the high seas, are written and illustrated with such warmth and charm that the story of this very ordinary household in the early part of the 20th century becomes completely addictive.

Review quote

'The extraordinary diaries of an obscure Glasgow clerk who lived through the First World War and the Depression are set to become one of the publishing hits of the year' Observer