Lyn Macdonald is perhaps one of the most influential writers in the new form of accessible history now being written, but she remains ahead of many others due to her non-invasive style. This book is compiled from painstakingly collated facts, letters and conversations with eyewitnesses from The Great War. But unlike many books that consist of dry retelling of historical military manoeuvres, this is written with accuracy and compassion. The book 1914 (Days Of Hope) will be surprising to many people as very little of the first part of the war was fought in the trenches and a large proportion of the British standing army was lost, but what they achieved was astonishing and is largely overlooked when The Great War is thought of. The first couple of chapters discuses the logistics of how the war started and how the troops were deployed to France. The vast majority of the book describes the events after the landed in France. This was so gripping I literally read it right though the night. It has you laughing with ridiculous events, such as an officer trying to dye his white horse brown to make it less visible at night and gets the dye mixture wrong and ending up with a canary yellow one by mistake, much to the delight of the enlisted men. But by describing everyday events it allows you into the feelings and camaraderie of the men, until you feel that you have some kind of understanding of how they felt and how they could do what they did. I can not recommend Lyn Macdonald's books more highly for being readable, informative and, forgive me for saying it, but completely lacking the pompous overtones of so many accurate historical books.