A treasure-trove of previously unpublished letters and first hand accounts from British `tommies' of life and death in the trenches during the First World War.
This is the story of the men who held the front line in France and Flanders. It is a graphic account of a strange and seemingly unending style of life and death in all their facets. It is a unique approach, an anthology interwoven with a continuous commentary so that the reader is always kept aware of the context of the writing. The balanced and un-emotive approach cannot, however, fail to leave the reader deeply moved. Domestic life in the line: accommodation, food and drink, wiring and carrying, the whole day and night routine are investigated, as are the operational aspects of trench life - raiding and patrolling in no-man's-land and the German lines. Actual battle experience is also featured, but one of the most interesting parts of the book is devoted to the attitudes of front line soldiers, officers and their men, to each other; to the staff; to their Allies; to wounds; to fear; to God; to the sheer horror of it all. There is also a strong sense of humour about some of the material included - often a necessary antidote to the appalling conditions, but it should not be thought that everyone involved hated it. Some young soldiers found in it experience and responsibility beyond their years, while the professionals went to war with cool enthusiasm. The aim of this all encompassing portrayal of the front line is to grip the reader such that it cannot be put down, and that by the time it is finished he or she will have a genuine understanding of what it was like to fight in the trenches of the Western Front.show more