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The Minstrel Boy: A Tale of War Paperback – 20 Apr 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (20 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419644009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419644009
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,911,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Ralph Hudson was borne in a Yorkshire mill town in 1928.He grew up in the shadow of two 'Kitchener's Pals" Battalions raised by the town in 1914, both decimated on the Somme. He grew up in a town where many young women did not marry because there was a shortage of young men. Later in life he had occasion to meet many of those volunteers who did survive, then in the aurumn of their years who told him of their experiances. It is for them that he wrote this book.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tyke on 16 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
An extract from a review of 'The Minstrel Boy' by Helen Kaye-Watts.

The story takes us through many of the 'big shows' of the First World War' Our hero goes through the Somme, Passchendaele, the advance onto the Hindenburg line, the German offensive of 1918. He undergoes various keynote experiances, shooting an enemy soldier for the first time and seeing him die, being involved in an execution by firing squad, surviving the destruction of his battalion on the first day of the Somme. It is almost odyssean. A harsh critic might point out the artificial nature of this imaginary career which the author has synthesised from many real life stories. But I would defend him, pointing out in return that it is an explicitly and deliberately synthetic plot, and that within it the stories are authentially human.

The novel is a love story at its core. Key to the hero's whole experiance of war is his introduction to romance and sex. In a manner which is reminiscent of Pat Barker's 'Regeneration' trilogy and Faulk's 'Birdsong' sexuality is used as a dramatic foil for violence and death. The hero has various more or less intense sexual experiences, but the key one is with a young nurse who happens to be from the same Yorkshire town. Like him , she is never named. The one identifying characteristic she is given is that she is Jewish. This serves as an important thematic purpose when our hero returns to England and marries her, there are adumbrations of anti-semitism which hints at the fact that, with the end of the war, the 20th century had not yet delivered its quota of horror.

In general, the novel is nicely textured, and narrated with verve and passion and historical conviction. I recommend it highly
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kings own on 12 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
The Minstrel Boy

Ralph Hudson has already produced an excellent factual book "The Bradford Pals" about the men and boys of West Yorkshire who joined up in the first months of WW1 - many of whom died together in Northern France.
This book, in complete contrast, is a short novel about what might have been for one such young man going off to war - and thankfully returning to the girl he loved. It's a short book, there are some typing errors but the meat of the story is engaging and gripping. I read the book in two bites over 24 hours and enjoyed it immensely. If you want a change from reading the facts about the tactics, battles and deaths it's just the job.
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Format: Paperback
A novel to be read by anyone interested in the first world war and, particularly in Kitchener's "Pals Battalions" and their decimation on the Somme.
A good companion to "The Bradford Pals" by the same author
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