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4.0 out of 5 stars
Vivid depiction of war's extrordinary impact on ordinary lives, 23 Sept. 2010
Heroism abounds in Peter Rhodes's wonderful collection of interviews with dozens of people who have served their country over the past 100 years.
But it is not the achievements of the top brass which is highlighted, more the selflessness of those directly in the firing line.
Mr Rhodes has brought together the stories of a range of people who were caught up in conflicts, from the First World War up to the current battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Originally published as newspaper articles, the pieces are powerfully concise and poignant, bringing together stories which may otherwise have gone untold.
Although officers' successes are featured, the book focuses on the common man's experience in the front line of the Somme, or the youngsters who saw Zeppelins raid the Midlands.
It is the little details which stay in the memory like the 109-year-old former miner who recalled the national mourning over the 1885 death of General Gordon in Khartoum more than a century later.
Many of those interviewed did not see their stories as extraordinary, merely viewing themselves as modest contributors to a greater effort.
This book is a fitting memorial to the forces personnel featured, as well as a timely reminder of the real human cost of warfare.