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The Secret Battle [Paperback]

Alan Patrick Herbert
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
Price: 17.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

31 Aug 2012
This book was originally published prior to 1923, and represents a reproduction of an important historical work, maintaining the same format as the original work. While some publishers have opted to apply OCR (optical character recognition) technology to the process, we believe this leads to sub-optimal results (frequent typographical errors, strange characters and confusing formatting) and does not adequately preserve the historical character of the original artifact. We believe this work is culturally important in its original archival form. While we strive to adequately clean and digitally enhance the original work, there are occasionally instances where imperfections such as blurred or missing pages, poor pictures or errant marks may have been introduced due to either the quality of the original work or the scanning process itself. Despite these occasional imperfections, we have brought it back into print as part of our ongoing global book preservation commitment, providing customers with access to the best possible historical reprints. We appreciate your understanding of these occasional imperfections, and sincerely hope you enjoy seeing the book in a format as close as possible to that intended by the original publisher.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Ulan Press (31 Aug 2012)
  • ASIN: B009PS9HZ2
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 19 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,559,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sad and poignant tale 19 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Secret Battle is told from the point of view of a man narrating, and lamenting, the fate of his friend, Harry, who he served with in World War One. Harry begins, like many other young men of his era, with a strong sense of patriotism and excitement about fighting, but as the harsh realities of warfare wear him down he begins to lose his faith in fate, without feeling able to leave.

I found this book particularly interesting as most of the fiction I have read on the First World War tends to have been set on the Western Front, in the trenches. The Secret Battle however, is set mainly in the Middle East - narrating the problems faced by troops fighting in Gallipoli. Instead of rain and soggy trenches they were faced with blistering heat, sandstorms and plagues of insects, as well as various diseases, the most common being dysentry.

It is a sad book, but an important one and a must read for anyone interested in the experiences and courage of the soldiers who fought during the Great War.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and moving 15 Dec 2013
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A powerful and moving account of the life of a junior infantry officer during the Great War. Published in 1919 the novel draws on Herbert's own experiences in the conflict. Although the narrative can sometimes feel a little dated by modern standards it has an immediacy that is obviously informed by recent experience.

As the action moves from Gallipoli to the Somme it vividly portrays the physical and mental stresses of modern warfare. Neither does it shy away from the establishment's lack of understanding of the problems men in the trenches faced.

There's a certain doomed inevitability to the ending that leaves the reader saddened.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling 7 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not really knowing what the book was about as such is was better than expected and I was not expecting the ending. Great detail helps you "try" and imagine being there and you can though fully understand what the soldiers went through. It does however make you angry at the unnecessary loss of life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping, Emotional Tale 29 Nov 2013
By Jonathon K - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the proverbial "must reads," especially for those who have served in combat and their loved ones. I am a combat vet, and while I saw nothing near to what the soldiers in the trenches in WWI experienced, I did see how killing and having friends killed affected some people. I am thankful that medical science now recognizes PTSD and can treat those suffering from it.

This story follows two men into combat at Gallipoli and France. One is the (semi) impartial observer, the other an idealist, a brave officer who leads his men with skill and professionalism. As the war progresses, the idealist begins to question his abilities, all the time pushing himself harder to do his duty.

There is combat in the book, but this is not a shoot-em-up. There are no set battles with hand-to-hand combat. Rather, the violence tends to be from the sky, random shellings and bursts of fire while the soldiers hug the trenches or are out on working parties. One minute, a group of soldiers is digging a communications trench, the next, they are blown apart by a Turkish shell.

The raison d'etre of the book, however, is not the fighting itself, but the transformation of Harry Penrose, the idealist who only wants to be a success on the battlefield. It is emotionally gripping, like being on an out-of-control train hurtling to the washed-out bridge. You can see what is coming, you are struggling to avoid it, but there is nothing you can do about it.

Once again, I never experienced anything close to that the soldiers in WWI faced, but to me, this is one of the best books I have read that give a feeling for the emotions that exist in combat. I highly, highly recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic masterpiece 10 Oct 2013
By Rugby3 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I read this almost-an-autobiography years ago, and came back to it to find it as powerful and engrossing as before. It's the tale of a highly-strung young officer brutalised by the First World War but struggling to contain matters, and it's a narrative told by a friend who desires to 'set the story straight.' It's moving and simply told, the tale of a victim who is a hero and whose tale ends tragically. Herbert's work had deep influence on the military, and the reader will understand why.
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books of WW1 30 May 2014
By teri wells - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I've been told by a British historian who is published and knighted for his work that this is one of the most important books to come out of that war. It is very hard to find
5.0 out of 5 stars The unvarnished brutality of "the war to end all war" 2 April 2014
By jmk444 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a gem, written by a World War I veteran, it chronicles the day to day travails (the rampant dysentery, the swarms of flies and the swirling sands that covered everything and made sleep nearly impossible) that made the Gallipoli campaign such a torture. There is no sugar-coating of the horrors of war here, nor any false bravado. It's merely an eyewitness account that gives an unvarnished look at the abject brutality and dehumanization of war. It's just too bad these lessons weren't taken to heart after 1918....nearly a century later, we haven't learned from it yet.
3.0 out of 5 stars good 14 Jan 2014
By Smart Shopper - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not a.bad book actually . . I enjoyed it well enough and do not have any real complaints it was worth downloading
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