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War Underground: The Tunnellers of the Great War Paperback – 10 Oct 1988


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Paperback, 10 Oct 1988
£85.00 £13.67
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Spellmount Publishers Ltd; New edition edition (10 Oct. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1871085004
  • ISBN-13: 978-1871085006
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,211,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. W. J. Neil on 1 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was moved to research this subject having met one Johan Vandewalle in September 2010 on a visit to the Ieper/Ypres area. Johan runs a super little bar on the edge of Polygon Wood, but is also a vastly respected battlefield archaeologist. He certainly fired my imagination to make me discover what I could of the Underground War. I found later that he was co-author of the definitive book on the subject - Beneath Flanders Fields'.
As I am actually supposed to be reviewing 'War Underground' I can say that its facts are authentic and, though a factual account it manages to be at the same time atmospheric and made me want to know more to the extent that I am moved to begin writing a novel, as yet unnamed, on the subject (my father, both grandfathers and two great-grandfathers were miners and it is not difficult to weave them into the plot, thanks to Mr Barrie's splendid book.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book, I found out I had an Great Uncle who was a tunneller and wish dot find out a little more of the things he may have gone through. I found this book well written and informative , a great addition to my library
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mac on 27 May 2006
Format: Paperback
I was attracted to this topic after seeing a documentary on television about the "clay-kickers" of "The Great War" - and this is a solid book setting out the stories of their campaign which, on the British and Commonwealth side eventually became a mammoth effort with over thirty companies (up to 24,000 men) digging at any one time and creating over 3000 miles of tunnels.

Barrie's writing is engaging and I frequently found myself engrossed in his detailed study of the men involved.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A vivid history of a forgotten chapter of the war 24 Jun. 2001
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As Alexander Barrie makes clear tunneling became an integral part of allied strategy.
"Conditions were good for mining - an old-established seige-war technique. When they found themselves baulked on the surface, both sides began to burrow beneath each other's lines to lay and fire heavy explosive charges."
"A separate, almost private war between rival sappers started, It was a three-year, bloody, claustrophobic, uncomfortable, primitive, exhausting war-within-a-war. Military experts predict that noting like it will ever again be seen."
Barrie describes the formation of the tunneling companies and the development of the techniques and strategies they employed. Based on interview with former tunellers and published military histories Barrie has constructed a history based around the activities of John Norton Griffiths who was instrumental in establishing the first tunneling companies.
But it is the sheer size of the mining activities that is most surprising. By the height of the mining war 20,000 men were actively engaged on each side and hundreds of miles of tunnels were completed before the end of the war.
This book gives a vivid account of a type of warfare that will thankfully never be seen again.
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