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We Will Not Fight...: The Untold Story of World War Ones Conscientious Objectors Hardcover – 1 Feb 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (1 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845133005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845133009
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 928,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'moving and grippingly readable book'
-- Sunday Telegraph, March 2 2008

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Wilkinson on 6 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I had not given the conscientious objectors much thought before I picked up "We Will Not Fight" by Will Ellsworth-Jones, (Aurum Press). The book follows the lives of three brothers from Yorkshire during the First World War.

While two Brocklesby brothers fought for their country and experienced life in the trenches, the story centres on Bert, who fought not to fight. Bert was a conscientious objector. A trained teacher and preacher, he was fundamentally opposed to war and killing.

As a reader you start out sympathetic to Bert. He would not kill. He was following his bible and religion. He and his fellow COs were an embarrassment, but they could have been allowed to do valued work at home. Instead, their continuing refusal to serve became a major problem for the government, which was trying to recruit enough men to win the war.

The government was heavy-handed, particularly with working class men, but Bert was so stubborn that he would not sew coal sacks because the coal might be used in the war effort.

The fact that Bert was not an easy character to be sympathetic with strengthens this account. The author could have chosen someone with whom everyone could have felt sympathy all of the time. But Bert and his colleagues who were sent to France, held in appalling prison conditions and sentenced to death, needed every ounce of stubbornness. They won the battle for others who would refuse to join the military in later conflicts. Without their fundamental, overwhelming, black and white beliefs, they would have given in. The right to say no would have been lost.

This is a moving account and fills in a part of the history of war in Britain that had hitherto not been covered. Based on the letters and records of the day, the story was a compelling read.

Tony Wilkinson and Lindsay Cook
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. T. Edwards on 7 May 2008
Format: Hardcover
A well-researched book detailing the lives of three Yorkshire Brocklesby brothers, one of whom was a conscientious objector, the other two combatants, through whose eyes the story of the conscientious objector movement in World War One is told. This is compared briefly to the Second World War, where although the "Conchies" were overall treated better by the establishment than during the First World War, they nonetheless had a difficult time with those who didn't understand their moral stance and believed they were simply cowards. In the latter I speak with some personal knowledge as my father was a CO during the Second World War and had to move away from home because of the antipathy towards him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RFT on 21 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brave men in a different way. 'Conshies' weren't cowards. They did generally contribute to the war effort and paid a heavy price for their beliefs along the way. A 'must read' in conjunction with Boy Soldiers etc to build up a more complete WW1 picture and its Tommies.
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