This little book is about an unknown family member, re-discovered by a family genealogist. On beginning to research his family tree, he discovered an relative, George, about whom he had not previously heard.
On further investigation, he discovered that his relative had gone missing, presumed dead, during World War I. The book then documents what is known of George's life and his military service, and describes a family pilgrimage to the area in which he died. In the course of the book the author discusses other relatives who were involved in the War, and gives some military and social context.
There are some interesting appendices with background information, but the heart of the book is the trip to the battlefield, and the visits to memorials and cemeteries. I was moved by the effect on the family, and their views on conscription, and on loss.
I am an amateur genealogist, and I have extended family who died in World War I. One of our daughters was able to visit the war grave of a relative - for the first time since his death - and her feelings were very similar. The photos of memorials and cemeteries in the book convey the number of deaths well.
As this is a family project, the author may return to it. I would encourage him to think about using the first person for the sections which refer to his work and journey. It would also be useful to know which statements about George's experiences are extrapolations from contemporaneous material, and which are known for cerain, for example from records or letters home.
All in all, a thoughtful tribute to a lost relative, and well worth half an hour of your time. Genealogists will enjoy it, but anyone with an interest in the personal stories of World War should find it worthwhile.