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Remembered: The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission [Hardcover]

Julie Summers , Brian Harris , Ian Hislop
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 May 2007
This lavishly illustrated book marks the 90th anniversary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which pays tribute to the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars. Charting the development of the magnificent cemeteries and memorials built in 150 countries, Remembered emphasizes the importance of the commission's work not only in commemorating the dead, but also in preserving the sites of some of the most historically significant battles of the twentieth century.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Merrell Publishers Ltd; illustrated edition edition (1 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1858943744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1858943749
  • Product Dimensions: 30.2 x 30.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The first major illustrated history of its kind for 40 years - THE DAILY TELEGRAPH Brian Harris captures the serenity of the sites, but also their humanity - BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE Superb - A mixture of poignant words and beautiful - brilliant and very often artistic photographs - I would urge anyone with any interest in 20th-century war to purchase this volume - FAMILY HISTORY

About the Author

Julie Summers is a writer and historian. She is the author of Fearless on Everest (2000), The Shackleton Voyages (2002) and The Colonel of Tamarkan (2005). Brian Harris is an award-winning photographer who has worked for The Times and The Independent newspapers. Ian Hislop is the editor of Private Eye magazine. In 2005 he presented the Channel 4 TV series Not Forgotten, on First World War memorials.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fitting tribute to the work of the CWGC 16 May 2007
Biographer and historian Julie Summers and acclaimed newspaper photographer Brian Harris have combined their talents to produce this memorable and visually stunning book thats publication date marks the 90th anniversary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, established by Royal Charter in 1917 as the Imperial War Graves Commission with its guiding principle of equal treatment of all war dead, irrespective of rank, race or creed..

The History of this organisation which is responsible for cemeteries and memorials in 23,000 locations in 150 countries around the world began with the work and foresight of one Red Cross volunteer, Fabian Ware in the First World War. Careful record keeping by Ware and his resistance to the selective repatriation of war dead were early features of war graves work.Later Ware called upon a wealth of talents including Sir Edwin Lutyens to design the cemeteries and memorials of the First World War. Rudyard Kipling, his only son missing in the trenches, became the first literary adviser to the I.W.G.C.

The remarkable story unfolds with supporting well-selected archival photos as well as stunning contemporary ones. The role of ordinary men and women is not forgotten: Annie Souls, an Oxfordshire housewife who lost five sons in the First World War and Ben Leech who was allowed by the Germans in World War 2 to continue tending the Somme war cemeteries, also finding time to involve himself in Resistance activities.

Many aspects of the work of the CWGC are covered: grave concentration, horticulture and gravestone production. There was no standard type of gravestone: as at Gallipoli climate dictated the use of pedestal stones in a style similar to that used after the Second World War in war cemeteries in Thailand and Burma.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent with beautiful photos 4 Jun 2007
Military historians and family history researchers along with the many of the thousands who regularly visit the battlefields and Commonwealth War cemeteries around the globe each year, will be delighted with this superb large format colourful volume, which in a mixture of words and beautiful photographs chronicles the history of the multi-national organization that is tasked with caring for the final resting places of over 1.7 million Commonwealth war dead of both the Great and Second World Wars.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission who's work is funded by the Australian, British, Canadian, Indian, New Zealand and South African Governments, skillfully and caringly maintains cemeteries in no less than 23,000 cemeteries in locations spanning 170 countries worldwide, was founded 90 years ago with the aim of recording the exact burial places of servicemen killed in battle and providing them with a grave, where without distinction in rank, race or creed, but with uniformity would be remembered in perpetuity.

Writing this book would not have been an easy task, however the author has succeeded, in not only covering the history of the Commission, but has also cleverly "woven in" many fascinating stories behind the headstones adding a human and sensitive perspective to the history too. This factor alone makes fascinating reading however, when the text is coupled together with Brian Harris's brilliant and very often artistic photographs taken in Europe, Canada, the Middle and Far East, the volume becomes more valuable to both the researcher and casual reader.

As all royalties from the sale of this excellent volume are being donated towards the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, I would therefore urge anyone with an interest is this fascinating subject to purchase this volume to assist them in keeping up their excellent work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never Forget 21 Jun 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book covering an important and moving subject. Of course, "the subject" is not just the war cemeteries covered so well here, but the whole tragedy of war, especially World War One.

As I grow older it is increasingly sad, and even more humbling, to think of those thousands of men dying for - in so many ways - nothing.

All the more important then that we remember them, their loss and - here's the real point - that we as a nation of people collectively show our debt and gratitude to all servicemen by tending the graves of the fallen.

We should also provide today's soldiers with decent equipment, housing and pay, but that's another story. Maybe by paying homage to the dead of the last century we can better appreciate the service of those today.

After I bought a copy for myself I immediately got another one for a friend.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great War 18 Aug 2013
By barkis
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A beautiful and informative book. It showed the great loss and sadness of the country during this period from which we have not recovered..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Such a Beautiful Book 31 May 2014
By Derek
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Another purchase I made because of my interest in war grave photography. It is a magnificent book, full of photographs that leave you asking the question: "why?"
Very large war cemeteries can be overwhelming places to visit, the rows of headstones can sometimes be intimidating, but here they are treated as places of beauty, worthy of photography.
I do not recall much of the text inside the book, it was the images that caught my eye. This is the sort of book you keep on coming back to because of the quality of the content. And, to see places that you may never visit in your lifetime.
A wonderful book, and a wonderful addition to any collection.
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