The Unknown Soldier

The Unknown Soldier

4.26 (179 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Of all the million British dead of the First World War, only one - the Unknown Soldier - was ever returned to his native land. An anonymous symbol of all those lost without trace in the carnage of the battlefields, he was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey amid an outpouring of grief that brought the whole nation to a standstill, far outweighing even the emotion expressed over the death of Princess Diana over eighty years later. Inspired by this example, almost every combatant nation buried its own Unknown Soldier and the graves became the focus of a pilgrimage that still continues today. Drawing on largely unpublished letters and diaries, Neil Hanson has resurrected the lives and experiences of three unknown soldiers - a Briton, a German and an American. Every word is based on the testimony of those who fought, those who died and those who mourned. Few books have ever shown the terrible reality of warfare in such compelling, unforgettable detail, or told such a moving story of human life and loss. Amid all their sufferings, the common humanity of the men and their loved ones shines through. Each soldier lives on in the memory of his family to this day. They stand at the head of a ghost army three million strong, all of whom have no known grave. Their story is the story of the "Unknown Soldier".show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 688 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 44mm | 521.64g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Corgi Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • w. 2 sketch maps, photos on 8 plates (some col.).
  • 0552149764
  • 9780552149761
  • 517,484

About Neil Hanson

Neil Hanson is the author of three acclaimed works of narrative history: The Custom of the Sea, The Dreadful Judgement and The Confident Hope of a Miracle. He lives in Yorkshire with his family.show more

Review quote

"'Neil Hanson's prose (has) an almost unbearable poignancy... A beautifully illustrated book that has all the sombre grandeur of the Beethoven funeral march" Sunday Times "Of all the books I've read on WWI, this really brought home the experience. If I were to nominate a top pick, this would be it" Publishing News "His researches yield an astonishing mine of information, which Hanson, a non-academic historian and an excellent writer, skilfully blends into an absorbing and consistently moving narrative framework. fascinating" Literary Review "'One of the best books I've read on the insanity of life in the trenches.'" Daily Mailshow more

Review Text

"'One of the best books I've read on the insanity of life in the trenches.'"show more

Back cover copy

Of all the million British dead of the First World War, only one - the Unknown Soldier - was ever returned to his native land. An anonymous symbol of all those lost without trace in the carnage of the battlefields, he was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey amid an outpouring of grief that brought the whole nation to a standstill. Drawing on largely unpublished letters and diaries, Neil Hanson has resurrected the lives and experiences of three unknown soldiers - a Briton, a German and an American. Every word is based on the testimony of those who fought, those who died and those who mourned at home; each life described in unforgettable detail. Few books have ever shown the true and horrific reality of warfare, or told such a moving story of human life and loss. These rare insights into three soldiers' lives capture the Great War in all its profound tragedy. 'Stories to break the heart. An unforgettable picture of life in the hottest sectors of the Western Front' New York Times 'Hanson, an excellent writer, skilfully blends an astonishing mine of information into an absorbing and moving narrative... fascinating' Literary Review 'Neil Hanson's prose (has) an almost unbearable poignancy...(and) all the sombre grandeur of the Beethoven funeral march' Sunday Timesshow more

Rating details

179 ratings
4.26 out of 5 stars
5 43% (77)
4 42% (75)
3 14% (25)
2 1% (1)
1 1% (1)
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