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Soldier from the Wars Returning (Pen & Sword Military Classics) [Paperback]

Charles Edmund Carrington
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

18 May 2006 Pen & Sword Military Classics (Book 74)
Soldier from the Wars Returning is one of the truest, most profound and readable personal accounts of the Great War. The author waited nearly fifty years before writing it, and the perspective of history enhances its value. He writes only of the battles in which he participated (including the Somme and Passchendaele), though his comments on affairs beyond his knowledge at the time, through later study and reflection, are pungent and stimulating. Among other topics, he describes the politicians, the generals, Kitchener's Army, Hore-Belisha, German gas attacks, Picardy, dug-outs, tanks, the sex-life of the soldier, scrounging. trench kits and the censoring of letters. The author saw the First World War from below, as a fighting soldier in a line regiment. In the Second World War he served as a staff officer liaising between the Army and the RAF; serving two tours at RAF Bomber Command HQ at High Wycombe. This equipped him to draw forthright comparisons between the conduct of the two wars.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military; New edition edition (18 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844153630
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844153633
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 359,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Delighted to see this in print again - my old copy with it's pre-decimal price on the back is worn beyond repair.

A wonderful melange of anecodes and personal experience, written well and with no political axe to grind. Described to me by a veteran of three years on the western front as 'the only book that makes you think the author was actually there'.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great War Classic 12 Sep 2006
This very readable volume from the splendid Pen and Sword Military Classics series , was first published in 1965. It is written by a distinguished academic who having served in the British army and fought in the both the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele, actually waited nearly fifty years before writing this book. This vast lapse in time, resulted in him being able to reflect on the wartime events, draw on other's experiences, conduct further research and finally give a great deal of thought to this work and the successfully put it all into perspective, making it the excellent volume that it is.

As well as his factual accounts of events on the battlefield, topics covered include - politicians and generals at that time, Kitchener's Army, censorship, tank warfare in its early stages, gas attacks and the sex life of soldiers! Therefore making it an invaluable source of reference for any Great War enthusiast or researcher.

The author certainly lived a fascinating life, having been awarded a Military Cross whilst serving in a line regiment during the Great War, he then graduated from Oxford and later taught at Haileybury. He went on to become a publisher at Cambridge University Press and served as a staff officer at HQ Bomber Command during the Second World War. He was also Professor of Commonwealth Relations at Chatham House and Visiting Professor at the University of Tennessee. A remarkable man and a remarkable book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great book 6 Oct 2009
By HJDike
Carrington survived 2 years as a subaltern in France and wrote in the 20's under the name Charles Edmonds a long out of print memoir " A subaltern's war". In the 1960's as a retired academic he wrote this as a personal and historical analysis of the war and was able to compare his experiences as a world war 2 staff officer with those of his youthful self. His admirable analysis is simply the best book of the dozens I have read of world war 1. An informative relatively objective history that shows Haig to be probably the best senior commmander of the war, another surprise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A excellent view of WW1 from an eye-witness 17 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Charles Carrington wrote a memoir of his Great War experiences, "A Subaltern's War", published in 1919 under the name of "Charles Edmonds". This was reprinted in paperback several times, most recently in 1984, and second-hand copies are still widely available.

But he came back in 1965 with this second volume, which contains further analysis of his war, particularly in the light of his service as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Second World War. Full of insights and anecdotes he has a second bite of the cherry; particurly revealing is account of how he broke down after 3rd Ypres in autumn 1917, and back with a training battalion in England he found occassional sollace in dressing as a private soldier and mixing with other-ranks.

As in his first memoir he is keen to prove that the British soldier did not see the war as futile - he had volunteered because he believed in a cause, and fought on through the darkest days because he maintained the belief that he was fighting a just war.

There are many good first-hand memoirs of the Great War, most of which have something useful to add to the sum of knowledge about what must be the most written-about war of all, but this is arguably amongst the most important half-dozen and needs to be read by anyone who claims to know about the Western Front.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soldier from the War Returning 17 Dec 2008
By Michael G. Jackson - Published on
If you read but one book about the British Expeditionary Force's experience in the Great War this is the one. These types of autobiography's have a reputation for bitterness. This you will not find. Having served as a staff officer in World War II the author looks back (from the late 1960s) at the events beginning just before the War until the end of 1918. Details of life in a line infantry battalion along with the greater strategy of the Western Front. A great read.
4.0 out of 5 stars "Soldier From the War Returning" 27 Mar 2010
By Wayne R. Klatt - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fine account of army life in World War I from the British standpoint. It is sad to watch an era die day by day in the trenches, although the author keeps the narrative personal and honest as well as generally upbeat, and with welcomed moments of humor.
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