Six Weeks and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading Six Weeks on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Six Weeks: The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War: The Life and Death of the British Officer in the First World War [Paperback]

John Lewis-Stempel
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
You Save: 3.00 (30%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Saturday, 19 April? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 4.35  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 6.99  
Amazon.co.uk Trade-In Store
Did you know you can use your mobile to trade in your unwanted books for an Amazon.co.uk Gift Card to spend on the things you want? Visit the Books Trade-In Store for more details or check out the Trade-In Amazon Mobile App Guidelines on how to trade in using a smartphone. Learn more.

Book Description

27 Oct 2011

During the Great War, many boys went straight from the classroom to the most dangerous job in the world - that of junior officer on the Western Front. Although desperately aware of how many of their predecessors had fallen before them, nearly all stepped forward, unflinchingly, to do their duty. The average life expectancy of a subaltern in the trenches was a mere six weeks.

In this remarkable book, John Lewis-Stempel focuses on the forgotten men who truly won Britain's victory in the First World War - the subalterns, lieutenants and captains of the Army, the leaders in the trenches, the first 'over the top', the last to retreat. Basing his narrative on a huge range of first-person accounts, including the poignant letters and diaries sent home or to their old schools, the author reveals what motivated these boy-men to act in such an extraordinary, heroic way. He describes their brief, brilliant lives in and out of the trenches, the tireless ways they cared for their men, and how they tried to behave with honour in a world where their values and codes were quite literally being shot to pieces.


Frequently Bought Together

Six Weeks: The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War: The Life and Death of the British Officer in the First World War + The Missing of the Somme + Her Privates We
Price For All Three: 20.07

Buy the selected items together
  • The Missing of the Somme 6.79
  • Her Privates We 6.29


Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (27 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409102149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409102144
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Lewis-Stempel is a writer predominantly known for his books on military and natural history. He lives in Herefordshire, on the very edge of England before it runs into Wales, and within a stone's throw (with a decent gust of wind) from where his family were farming in the 1300s. His many books include Fatherhood: The Anthology, England: The Autobiography, The Autobiography of the British Soldier (Sunday Express '5 stars') and The Wild Life (Sunday Telegraph 'Timely and Compelling') and Foraging: The Essential Guide to Free Wild Food. His books have been published in languages as diverse as Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese, are available on all continents apart from Antarctica, and have sold more than a million copies. He has two degrees in history, writes books under the pen name Jon E. Lewis, is married with two children, and also farms. The Guardian's video interview with him about The Wild Life can be seen at
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/video/2009/may/23/hay-festival-john-lewis-stempel
'Six Weeks' his book about British frontline officers in the First World War, was published in November 2010 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. The Literary Review called it 'the most moving book I have ever read on the First World War' and Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey) said it was 'the best research resource ever.' The book became a number 1 bestseller in WW1 category on Amazon.
His most recent book is 'The War Behind the Wire', about the life, death and glory of British PoWs in WW1.
He writes a column on the Great War for the Sunday Express

.


Product Description

Review

Best research resource ever. Beautiful book (Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey))

Compelling (Julian Fellowes)

This well researched book tells the harrowing story of the men - or adolescents, many of them -who unhesitatingly answered the call by War Minister Lord Kitchener for volunteers, and continued to answer it even after it became clear that the life expectancy of a subaltern in the trenches averaged only six weeks... Lewis-Stempel is excellent on life in the trenches... for all the horror and pity of their struggle, their legacy is our freedom. (Andrew Roberts MAIL ON SUNDAY)

It is only rarely that a book deserves to be recommended unreservedly but John Lewis-Stempel's Six Weeks falls firmly into that category...This is a book that should be read by every young man who aspires to serve as an officer in the Army; it will educate him about how to behave in command of soldiers and about how to face the perils of war. (GUARDS MAGAZINE)

woven with great narrative skill...presents an incomparable portrait of a generation (MILITARY TIMES)

A superb study... Lewis-Stempel's marvelously evocative book is full of throat-catching moments... The result is the most moving single book on the Great War that I have ever read - and I have read many... his book pays the subalterns the respect they deserve by entering into their distant mindsets. (Nigel Jones LITERARY REVIEW)

Diaries and letters convey the inspiring spirit of these young men. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

A hugely moving account (OXFORD TIMES 2011-12-15)

A poignant and detailed study on what life was like at the front. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE 2012-01-01)

One of the most important new studies of the Great War (CONTEMPORARY REVIEW 2012-03-01)

Every school pupil should read "Six Weeks" by @JLewisStempel before going on a First World War battlefield tour (Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander British Forces in Afghanistan and author of 'Attack State Red')

Book Description

The extraordinary story of British junior officers in the First World War, who led their men out of the trenches and faced a life expectancy of six weeks.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book everyone interested in WW1 needs to read 8 July 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There has been considerable debate on the internet about the title of this book which comes from a quote by Robert Graves of 2/Royal Welch Fusiliers who wrote: "A soldier who had the honour to serve with one of the better divisions....could count on no more than three months' trench service before being wounded or killed; a junior officer a mere six weeks". So he wasn't saying that six weeks was LIFE EXPECTANCY since only approx. a third of casualties were fatalities: but that this was how long an officer lasted before being a casualty of some kind. This has exercised quite a number of people, and alas has led them not to take the book as seriously as they should.

That quibble apart, this is a well-researched, well-written book, and it is amazing that The Great War, the most written-about war of all time surely, should have a huge gap that this book is able to fill: namely the role, life and (sadly mostly) death of the junior officer on the Western Front.

I came to this book whilst researching my grandfather's Great War. The son of a Glasgow shop-keeper, he volunteered to join the 5th Scottish Rifles in Oct 1914 as a Private, and was commissioned into the 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers in Jan 1916 as a 2nd Lieutenant, ending the war as a Captain. Wounded three times (a bullet through the arm at St Eloi, buried-alive by a howitzer-shell but dug up badly bruised and shell-shocked on the Somme, badly gassed and temporarily blinded 10 days before the end of the war) he later became a doctor, and died aged 92.

The junior British infantry officer suffered higher casualties than virtually any other class of soldier in any army during WW1, and this book has given me a unique insight into the day-to-day duties and life of unimportant junior officers such as my grandfather, who has consequently greatly risen in my estimation: I highly recommend it.
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of the war the officers knew 21 Jun 2011
Format:Hardcover
"Six Weeks" is sub-titled "the Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War". It's a detailed, compelling and fascinating account of the Great War from the perspective of the British junior officer - the first and second lieutenants and captains on the Western Front. There are many books focusing on the lives of British soldiers in the War, often from the perspective of the British Tommy. But this is the officers' story. It is a book about (to paraphrase another famous title) "the war the officers knew".

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's comprehensive, following the service history of officers from school, through training, to the trenches, and into battle. The journey traces the time after combat, looking at "rest and leave" hospitalization and (all too often) death.

It is a book which is rich with period details. Some of these are from a world which has passed up by - the world of the personal servant and of utterly rigorous class divisions. Other period details are infinitely personal, including the letters written by the officers to their wives and children. There are first-hand quotations from a wide variety of sources (including letters and diaries). The photographs are of excellent quality, most of which I had not seen before. Certain sections of the book are unremittingly grim, although parts are light hearted and amusing.

In all, "Six Weeks" is an excellent read which I thoroughly recommend to anyone interested in the Great War, and anyone interested in any war from the perspective of a junior officer.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Timely Reminder. 10 Oct 2011
By Anjou
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It has been fashionable for some time to misuse the quotation 'Lions led by Donkeys' (possibly from the Crimean War and used by the late Alan Clark for the title of his book 'Donkeys'). It was originally a criticism of the High Command, especially in the Great War. It was never intended to apply to the junior officer in the trenches but is all too frequently so used nowadays.

This book is a marvellous, and desperately tragic, account of the spirit, gallantry and also the depth of the thousands of officers who fought, and so often perished, in that most terrible of wars. It is a most timely reminder of the truth about a generation of men whose loss left the country bereft of its very best. We still feel the lack of such men and their qualities.

This book should be read by anyone with an interest in the way the twentieth century unrolled.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In awe of this book 3 Oct 2012
By CMZ
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
On second reading, I'm still in awe of this book. 'Six Weeks' is a brilliant piece of wide-ranging research, beautifully organised and written, which traces the life of a typical front-line officer in the First World War from school and university, through volunteering and training to front line service and the alternate pathways of death or survival. Every detail imaginable is covered: uniform and weapons, means of transport, leave, medical treatment, the growing contribution of the 'Temporary Gentlemen', the cost of survival.... On a basis of solid factual information, the author uses the words and experiences of many young officers to build the picture and he pays his subjects the compliment of listening to them and presenting the war as they knew it, not as later generations have imagined it to have been.

A book on this subject was long overdue. It's hard to imagine that anyone could have done it better.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for those interested in WW1
I found this book to be a fascinating insight into a little mentioned section of the BEF in the First World War. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Nick
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on WW1.
This book gives lots of details on the existence of some of the officers during WW1. The offhand attitude of some of the generals that lead to a total waste of lives in the ranks.
Published 2 months ago by David Eden
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This is a really good account of the role of the young officers in the First World War. I suspect he may have 'borrowed' some of the material from Gary Sheffields excellent book on... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dangermouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Excellent delivery and packaging, book for a present so not read it, however read the blurb and confident it's a good book, well written
Published 4 months ago by rachael
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching, sad, and a little rose tinted.
This is a well researched book. Some of the accounts are truly moving and it gives a fantastic insight in to a subaltern's life in the trenches. Read more
Published 4 months ago by O. Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars New insight into very young offercers
The First World is of great interest to me . This book tells a story unknown to me from the usual histories. The lives and experiences of these young men came alive.
Published 4 months ago by Yolanda A. Cifarelli
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD BOOK BUT CHEAPER ELSEWHERE!
Bought a copy of this (brand new) from 'the Works' in Malton, Yorkshire this morning. Cost 2.99! Really interesting book.
Published 6 months ago by R. Stansfield
5.0 out of 5 stars A NEW LOOK AT WW1 AND THOSE YOUNG OFFICERS WHO FOUGHT IT
I thought this book was brilliant. It throws all the old myths, and myths they are straight out of the window. Read more
Published 7 months ago by MR JOHN R HERON
5.0 out of 5 stars Little-known facts but recommended reading.
Some people may be aware, at the back of their minds but almost forgotten, of the appalling attrition
of WW1. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jack Mappinn
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good
Very good and informative, excellent read. If you are interested in WW1 it is a very good book to read.
Published 9 months ago by mr k j hunt
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews
ARRAY(0xa3190528)

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback