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NOTHING OF IMPORTANCE. A Record of Eight Months at the Front with a Welsh Battalion October 1915 to June 1916 Paperback – 28 Sep 2001


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NOTHING OF IMPORTANCE. A Record of Eight Months at the Front with a Welsh Battalion October 1915 to June 1916 + OLD SOLDIERS NEVER DIE. + Storm of Steel (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Naval & Military Press; New ed of 1917 ed edition (28 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184342133X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843421337
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 2.1 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Buckland on 29 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
Bernard Adams was nearly twenty-four when war broke out. A Classical scholar of St John's College, Cambridge, he had set his mind missionary work in India but he joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (RWF) as a lieutenant in November 1914 and went to France, to the 1st Battalion, in October 1915 when his story begins. Soon after joining he was given command of a company, a position which he retained until he was wounded in June 1916 when he went home. He came back to France to his battalion at the end of January 1917, and a month later, on 26th February, he was wounded while leading his men in an attack on Puisieux and died the next day in a field hospital. He is buried in Couin New British Cemetery.
This is another exceptionally well written and interesting memoir by a man who was held in high regard by his fellow officers and his men. 1st RWF (22nd Brigade, 7th Division) had just come from the Loos battlefield when Adams joined and his first experiences of trench warfare were in the Cuinchy - Givenchy sector, that dismal part of the front astride the La Bassee Canal. Here they sat till the last week in November in an everlasting alternation between the trenches and our billets behind....After two months out resting and training the battalion went back into the line in the Bois Francais trenches just below Fricourt and it was still there in June when Adams was wounded. The strength of these reminiscences is the wonderfully detailed picture of trench life in all its aspects - working parties, billets, the art of sniping - enlivened by the account of a duel between two exponents, night patrols, detonation of a mine and being hit while out wiring. There is a very good trench map of the Bois Francais position from which I was able to transfer details onto the Blue Series 1:25,000 map (2408 Est. Bray-sur-Somme) and explore that part of the line which the author has so well described.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Barr on 11 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first came across this book on the recommendation of one of my lecturers, as a primary source to use for a First World War module I did in my final year at university. I wasn't looking at it from a military perspective, but as to how people viewed the war, both from the battlefield and at back home.

As a lover of literature, I was immediately struck in some sections by how truthfully Adams writes, and parts of the book brought tears to my eyes. Towards the end of the book (page 299 to 303) there's a section which I've read more than a few times. In this section he writes about the true meaning of war, how it's not glorious, it's evil - "We are conquering an evil spirit by a good spirit, even if we are using an evil instrument." He describes what war brings out in people. He thinks of what those left behind must be going through waiting for their fathers, brothers, husbands, to come home. He comes across as a very wise man, and he knows what war is. The fact that he died after being sent back to the war after being injured only makes this section all the more striking, and I bought this book for that section of pages alone. If you want an honest first hand description of life at war, read this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By j guest on 10 May 2014
Format: Paperback
You would want to be a friend of this man. The warmth and humanity of his writing is compelling. His chapter on maps and map-reading is memorable. It feels as though he is taking you personally by the hand into his world. I guarantee that anyone who reads this book will, sooner or later, settle down to read it again. Now that's good value.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Willyum R on 11 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback
"Nothing of Importance, a Record of Eight Months at the Front with a Welsh Battalion" by Bernard Adams was recommended to me by a friend who said that it was his favourite WW1 memoir, out of at least a hundred he has read. Adams survived his eight months (Oct 1915 to June 1916 at the Somme), and was recovering from a bullet through his left arm when he wrote it back in Kent, listening to the soft rumble of guns on the wind from over the channel. Going back out to France in January 1917, he was fatally wounded on Feb 26th.

The book is poignant on that account, and, written and published whilst the war was still being waged, is blissfully free from the dull hindsight that makes some authors of memoirs written a decade or more after the war, start to sound like pub-bores with their well-worn rants about futility and Haig's butchery. It is genuinely well-written, and he often has a witty turn of phrase which makes one smile - whilst transporting the battalion by train: "the men were in those useful adaptable carriages inscribed 'Chevaux 10. Hommes 30.' Our Tommies were evidently a kind of centaur class, for they went in by twenties". He was a quiet, clever man, and this book leads one to think that he may have become a great writer, or great at something, had he survived the war.

Well worth buying.
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Format: Paperback
Nothing of Importance is a brilliantly written memoir of life at the front in the Bois Francais, 1916. Unlike much written today about the Great War, the memoir is unsentimental, and at times surprising, challenging what has become received wisdom about trench life and warfare. The narrative builds throughout, until reaching a superbly-written conclusion in which Adams sensitively unites the horror with the necessity of the conflict, and writes of the Christian faith that upheld him and many others throughout.
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