'An important contribution to the literature of the war. I would certainly buy this book even if I had not been sent a review copy, and whenever I get too misty-eyed about officer-man relationships I shall reread it to remind me of how badly things could go wrong. And of just how vital it is, for any democratic society seeking to use war as an instrument of policy, to ensure that the connection between war's means and its political ends is crystal clear.' -- Richard Holmes, The Evening Standard
'Ella darling, There are things I have concealed from you up till now that I think you ought to know; things that have turned me from a different person from the Ronald you know.' So, in April 1918, Ronald Skirth, a non-commissioned officer in the Royal Artillery, wrote to his sweetheart, back in England. A year before, Skirth, then just nineteen years old, had been sent to fight on the Western Front. This is his story, the story of a young man who went to war a devoted servant of King and country and returned utterly convinced that war, all war, was wrong and who acted upon his convictions, making a pact with God that he would not kill. This riveting memoir was written fifty years after the end of the war, drawing on his own contemporary diary entries and letters home. Never published before, it affords a vivid, moving and surprising insight into that most dreadful of conflicts.