When British tanks first crawled onto the battlefields in September 1916, they inspired laughter as well as dread. But these 'big jokes' went on to transform the nature of ground warfare forever. For this captivating narrative of the tank's history, Patrick Wright went to arms factories and military bases around the world. He was the first western writer to be received by the First Warsaw Tank Brigade after the disintegration of the Soviet bloc, and he discussed Operation Desert Storm with the US Army's Armour Centre in Fort Knox. The tank, Wright discovers, is as much a terrifying cultural phantom as a practical war machine. He gives us the tank's fascinating story through the eyes of the people who have tried to face up to it - from the renegade artists in Prague who painted a Soviet memorial tank pink, to the solitary protester in Tiananmen Square whose bravery touched the world.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Neal Ascherson once described me as a "wandering disestablished scholar whose method is to walk and talk". I may be better established nowadays, but I still feel some kinship with the metal detectorists whose world I briefly entered in A Journey Through Ruins. Like them, I work by picking up a signal in the present and then digging. I use libraries and personal testimony, and I've also benefited from journalistic commissions, which have enabled me to get to people and places that would otherwise be out of reach. More at www.patrickwright.net