"In this brilliant and profoundly moving collection of ‘farewell letters’ written by servicemen and women to their loved ones, Siân Price offers a remarkable insight into the hearts and minds of some of the soldiers, sailors and airmen of the past three hundred years.
Each letter provides an enduring snapshot of an impossible moment in time – when an individual stares death squarely in the face. Some were written or dictated as the person lay mortally wounded; many were written on the eve of a great charge or battle; others were written by soldiers who experienced premonitions of their death, or by kamikaze pilots and condemned prisoners.
They write of the grim realities of battle, of daily hardships, of unquestioning patriotism or bitter regrets, of religious fervor or political disillusionment, of unrelenting optimism or sinking morale – and above all, they write of their love for their family and the desire to return to them one day.
Be it an epitaph dictated on a Napoleonic battlefield, a staunch, unsentimental letter written by a Victorian officer, or an email from a soldier in modern day Afghanistan, these voices speak eloquently and forcefully of the tragedy of war and answer that fundamental human need to say goodbye."