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24 Reviews
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE definitive WW1 eyewitness account
This has to be the best WW1 diary in print at the moment, it has the appearance of a book written long ago (which it obviously was) complete with sketches and paintings of battlefield positions, enemy lines, photographs, newspaper clippings and various documents complete with authentic yellowing pages, Len Smith was probably one of the germans dangerous enemies without...
Published on 7 Oct 2009 by M. L. Richings

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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Drawing Fire
INteresting account from an old soldier of WWI and his time in the 'mob'. Starts with pre-enlistment and covers his entire time in the army in some detail. Excellent memory for the usually forgotton details and the drawings reproduced are excellent. A slightly stilted use of the language as expected with some-one brought up in this era and some of the phrasing and words...
Published on 19 Feb 2010 by Mr. Leslie A. Spencer


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE definitive WW1 eyewitness account, 7 Oct 2009
By 
M. L. Richings "m_richings2" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist (Hardcover)
This has to be the best WW1 diary in print at the moment, it has the appearance of a book written long ago (which it obviously was) complete with sketches and paintings of battlefield positions, enemy lines, photographs, newspaper clippings and various documents complete with authentic yellowing pages, Len Smith was probably one of the germans dangerous enemies without each other realising it at the time, previously only available as an eBook, Lens great-nephew David Mason and publishers HarperCollins have bowed to public requests for it to be released in hardback, they won't regret the decision, it could only have been bettered by keeping lens handwriting throughout the book which is why I have only given 4 stars instead of 5 but to be fair they have kept quite a few pages with his handwriting on plus the font replacement text sticks faithfully to lens punctuation and spelling and layout throughout the book so its not such a major issue. This volume has the added bonus of about half of Lens wartime letters added to the back of this volume. The release of this book in hardback is all the more poignant in the 95th anniversary year of the outbreak of WW1 and when we only recently lost this country's last two remaining survivors Henry Allingham and Harry Patch, i'm sure all concerned with this book would agree that it is unofficially dedicated to them, not to mention the memory of Len Smith himself
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drawing Fire by Len Smith, 23 April 2010
By 
K. A. Harris - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist (Hardcover)
I had the privilage of knowing Len Smith very slightly as he was a neighbour of my father in law who also served in WW1. As a result, in the late 1960's, I had the opportunity of reading Len's original manuscript which was an honour as he kept it very much to himself. I can verify that the recently published book is a true copy of that original and I am very pleased that many others will now have the opportunity to have a genuine first hand account of the privations and experiences sufferred by the infantry when at the battle front. I can thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest interest in World War One.

Ken Harris
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellant book, 9 Nov 2009
By 
G. Webb (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist (Hardcover)
What a book, when I started reading it I couldn't put it down, seemed to draw me into it. It gives an insight into life at that time, what happened, what conditions they had to endure,how fit they must have been,a very good book if you are interested in WW1, or had family serving in the trenches. if the youth of today had to endure this they would not have a clue how to!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece from WW1., 10 Jan 2010
This review is from: Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist (Hardcover)
Well I just love these finds and this one is definately a pleasure to read. To be reading a diary written at the front often in secret and kept on scraps of paper is a profoundly moving moment. Every page depicts life in the trenches, often diabolicle conditions, sometimes hungry, cold and fed up the diary still remains humerous and full of hope.
It has been done in a very professional manner. The book, the binding and the content is far superior to other products. It is worth every penny of its face value and will play an important part in my collection.
Please see my other reviews of ww1 diaries/ letters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 14 Feb 2010
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This review is from: Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist (Hardcover)
Having read 100s of books on WW1, I can honestly say that this is up there amongst the best. Not a scholarly analysis of tactics but a soldier's own record of his life during the conflict. There are long periods of boredom; there are graphic descriptions of hand-to-hand fightling and the loss of friends. What makes it stand out is the plethora of drawings and sketches by the author which bring life to his written descriptions. These and the photographs and newspaper cuttings which he kept and pasted into his original book.

I would highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in the period - you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings the trenches to life - Excellent!, 19 Jun 2012
This review is from: Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist (Hardcover)
I bought this on a recommendation and am very glad I did. The book is set out as a facsimile copy of diaries, notes and sketches made by a young soldier-artist during the First World War. I began thinking that this was a book to dip in and out of - but it pulled me in and I ended up reading it from cover to cover. The language, the drawings, the memories bring the horror, boredom, heroics, fear, comradeship, comedy and occasional beauty of the trenches to life. Excellent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PROBABLY THE BEST BOOK ON WW1 I'VE EVER READ, 6 July 2011
By 
R. Stansfield "Yorkatt" (York, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist (Hardcover)
I first became interested in the 'Great War', when I was thirteen, in 1964 (the 50th anniversary) and have read literally dozens of books, and watched countless TV programmes, on this subject. I bought a copy of this about a month ago and was totally mesmerised. If you ever wondered what it must have been REALLY like to be an ordinary soldier fighting on the Western Front then this is THE book to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Art and death in the trenches!, 31 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist (Hardcover)
humour and frank speaking on the front line, all enhanced by the writer's quirky little drawings and sketches. That these diaries and notes lay unknown for so many years only means that they are to be welcomed now that they are available to the general public. A good insight into the thinking of the ordinary soldier in WW1, who has to deal with trauma, death of friends, become a sniper, accept death as a norm and eventually ends up as a camoflage painter of gun sites and tanks!!! Take time to read this or read it again once you have finished!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting and colourful book with great drawings. Unlike a written diary it describes in ..., 31 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist (Hardcover)
I am so lucky to know the nephew David Mason mentioned at the back of this book who found the original workings to have this published. An exciting and colourful book with great drawings. Unlike a written diary it describes in great detail what it was like to be commissioned to spy and draw accounts of what the Germans where up to across no mans land. There is also some wonderful private drawings of colleagues and letters included.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 July 2014
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This review is from: Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist (Hardcover)
Book as described and delivered quickly.
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Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist
Drawing Fire: The diary of a Great War soldier and artist by Len Smith (Hardcover - 1 Oct 2009)
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