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The Faces of World War I: The Great War in words & pictures Hardcover – 7 May 2012

21 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 7 May 2012
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Cassell; Reprint edition (7 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844037126
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844037124
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 360,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


A picture is worth 1,000 words and Max Arthur has trawled through the archives of the Imperial War Musem to tell the story of the Great War in poignant black and white. --Tribune Magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The tragedy of the Great War in words and pictures, covering all aspects and armies who fought

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Stark on 20 Aug. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the other reviews so will try not to repeat too much in my own review.

Children (and some adults) are all too dismissive of the previous generations and, although I would not recommend showing this to young children, it could help teenagers studying history to get a real sense of the conditions the men fighting in the First World War were subject to. The author does not shy away from showing the dead in photographs and I think it gives the reader something to think about and possibly discuss.

As a book, it is well thought out and presented beautifully. It's a book I would happily leave on my coffee table for friends to flick through. A couple of friends can not understand why I would want to look at pictures from the War (as they find the subject of warfare disturbing) but I've never believed in wrapping people in cotton wool - I think people should know what those men went through and be proud of them. Although it is a collection of frank photographs of war, I think the subject has been handled sensitively too - there are no gratuitous shots what so ever in this book.

Highly recommended to anyone who wants to get a real sense of the lives of the men involved.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Anne Thomas on 30 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
There have been other books of photos of World War 1, and one might expect to see the same old images - but this is a collection of many unfamiliar, previously unseen photos - of subjects ranging from the Western Front, Gallipoli, the home front, and behind the lines - and both before, during and after the war.
The large format lends itself to the often panoramic images - and also allows you to see in detail extraordinary and haunting portraits - the 'faces' after which the book is named. It's a collection to please the expert and the interested browser alike - a WWI buff will appreciate the precisely captioned battle scenes - but any reader will feel the impact of the personal quotations which accompany many images - they add an extraordinary dimension to one's understanding of life and conditions in the trenches. It's an immensely moving photo-record, but my heart was particularly wrenched by the three Australian brothers who all died in one two-day attack, the home images of the average, working-class man who went to fight for king and country... not the Eton toffs, but the desperately poor. The images depict a world of contrasts, both in Britain and in Germany - but when it came down to it, all the men at the front were in the same boat, and returned after the conflict to their bleak lives with their terrible disfigurements, mental scars and the memory of lost comrades.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael da Costa on 7 Aug. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a brilliant book. Every picture, many of which I have never seen before tells a different story. Max Arthur has juxtaposed the photographs in chronological order and there is a real drama in the build up to the war from both sides and also in the lead up to the battles of the Somme and Arras. The consequence of the battles is poignantly told not only in photos but in words of the men who fought in them. I was particularly moved by the photo of the packs taken from the bodies of the dead, the photo shows British soldiers searching through for anything that can be sent home to the dead man's next of kin.

One particular photo is accompanied by the words of a young Lieutenant 'Now we die. It is the wet death, the muddy death, death dripping with blood. The bodies lie frozen in the earth which slowly sucks them in. The luckiest depart wrapped in canvas, to sleep in the nearest cemetery.'

But there are lighter moments such as the amazing shot of the Zulus dancing in their full battle costume and the tough looking Australian who the Kaiser loathed because he was always stealing from the German dead. There are many more like this in this memorable book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lance Grundy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Primarily focusing on the Western Front, this magnificently illustrated history book provides a visually stunning [and at times quite moving] record of World War One. High quality photographs are combined with well-chosen quotations from soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict to create a comprehensive account of the First World War in words and pictures [many of the quotes are taken from the author's acclaimed 2003 book Forgotten Voices of the Great War]. From the optimism of 1914 to the despair of 1918, and all the suffering in between, the handpicked photographs capture it all.

As you'd expect there are plenty of grim images to be found here and the deterioration of both the men themselves and the conditions they fought in is plain to see as you turn the pages. However, there are some sparks of light amidst all the darkness. As Ian Hislop says in the foreword, it's striking how often "the men smile at the camera when, to our eyes, there can be so little to smile about" and there are numerous photographs of the soldiers smiling and laughing while engaged in everything from football matches to pillow fights.

One thing I did read in this book that I wasn't previously aware of is that in some regiments the soldiers used to play football together as they went 'over the top'. To keep their morale up they'd pass the ball to each other as they crossed over no-man's land towards the enemy guns. As one Tommy recalls about the very first time he 'went over': "I remember the ball dropping at my feet and I passed it to Captain Maxwell. 'That was a good pass you made, young Withers' he shouted, before he thumped it towards the German lines". A great little anecdote, I thought, of the kind that would make this book a worthwhile read for anyone with an interest in the First World War.
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