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Subject: Book Recommendation - True World War I Stories rss

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James Webb
United Kingdom
Canterbury
Kent
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If you can get past the sensationalist title I heartily recommend On The Front Line: True World War I Stories.

Basically, while acting as editor of the magazine Everyman in 1929, a chap called C.B. Purdom put out a request for readers to send in their personal accounts of their experiences during the First World War. He received over three hundred responses, and published 60 of them in the aforementioned book.

What you are left with is a varied selection of stories from ordinary soldiers, mostly without the agendas of other lengthier autobiographical accounts.

A couple of disclaimers. Firstly, it's exclusively from the perspective of British troops. Secondly, of the 60 accounts, 40 of them are from the Western Front. On the other hand, the other 20 are from incredibly varied experiences, including soldiers in Gallipoli, Macedonia, Palestine, Mesopotamia, East Africa, airmen and seamen, POWs and women.

Most of the pieces are very well written, and include everything you'd want to find in such a volume. There are some very poignant recollections, typical British attitudes ("That's quite all right, old chap!"), a fair amount of humour ("We believed that the Germans would never intentionally shoot a British general, for fear that his successor might do something unexpected."), very little contempt for or hatred of the enemy, and just some rollicking good reads - I'm quite partial to the story told by a soldier who had to bail out from his observation balloon and had his parachute tangle up in the wire that was attached to the balloon.

I wasn't sure if it was going to be any good when I went into it, but I'm only halfway through it and it's been one of the best and most uplifting books on war and the human spirit that I've ever read.

I've never done the whole Book Recommendation Spam before, but I have been so impressed with this one that I had to post something about it.

That is all. You may go about your business.
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Vidar Ambrosiani
Sweden
Nyköping
Södermanland
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In the same genre I can recommend the Swedish writer/historian/member of the Swedish Academy (of Noble prize fame), Peter Englund. And more specifically his book "the beauty and the sorrow" which, based on diaries and other source material follow 20 people through WW1.

https://www.amazon.com/Beauty-Sorrow-Intimate-History-First/...
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Andy Daglish
United Kingdom
Cheadle
Cheshire
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100 years ago on the Somme, and in recent days several men of the Durham Light Infantry surnamed Affleck & Cobain have been wounded in action, and a president in America is elected by a very narrow margin [page 8]... http://bit.ly/2fYe6yk
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