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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mud, Blood and Glory
what was the great war like from the perspective of the officer in the trenches, well here you have got the chance to find out for yourselves, the entries are only rough and brief but they tell an incredible story of courage and bravery, the diary includes commentry written by the author it wasn't meant to be widely published, only to be read by his family and perhaps...
Published on 25 Sep 2008 by M. L. Richings

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great book, terrible Kindle edition - no pictures!
This is an excellent book - I have the physical paperback, and now also the Kindle edition.

However, I am very disappointed that the publishers have not bothered to copy across the many illustrations which form an integral part of this book.

For example, one part of the book reads : "We were all very cold so started a good coke fire going in an old...
Published 8 months ago by Martin


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mud, Blood and Glory, 25 Sep 2008
By 
M. L. Richings "m_richings2" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
what was the great war like from the perspective of the officer in the trenches, well here you have got the chance to find out for yourselves, the entries are only rough and brief but they tell an incredible story of courage and bravery, the diary includes commentry written by the author it wasn't meant to be widely published, only to be read by his family and perhaps therein lies its charm
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great insight into the conditions in the trenches. Rivetting, 24 Jun 2010
By 
Dr. G. Austin "Graham Austin" (Black Country UK) - See all my reviews
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Unlike the excellent books by Sassoon, Graves and Remarque, this book is based on a man's diary, which he fleshed out some years later. Though not an author, Alexander Cameron's account sits comfortably on my bookshelf with the aforementioned classics. There is added explanatory commentary by the author's grandson, Cameron Stewart, to set the scene.
It gives a very interesting description of life in the trenches and explains the way the Regiment organised itself all written in a very readable style. Captain Stewart was obviously a very brave but modest hero, who served without complaint on the bloodiest battlefields in history. Despite his fortitude even he came ever nearer his limits of endurance but happily he survived to give us this singular book. I found it very readable and very compelling. There is no politics, just the observations of a man who did his deathly duty to the best of his ability in apalling conditions. I heartily recommend it and thank Cameron Stewart for getting this published.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very important account of ww1., 17 Jan 2009
What impressed me most was the fact that the grandson has continued to press for this account to be published over 40yrs after the attempts by the author. I admire the chap for persuing this venture and adding his anecdotes alongside his grandfather's and adding a social account of the war era lifestyle for a very well to do family in London.
It has been done with much love and thoughtfulness to ensure the original diary and attached notes are given far more credence than they would have had in 1966(the first attempt to get the diary published). It is a very worthy account of the ww1 battlefield. Hardships, dangers and terrifying conditions are all there as is the officer's ability to continue with the vigour and thrust he would have at at the start. For many, the longer the war went on, the futility, waste of life , seemingly impossible objectives all became too much. Many became ill and needed convalescence. Others wounded and hospitalised had no wish to return to the front. Forced to return, but no longer with a strong will, many died in the trenches or on no mans land.
Here to, is one, that had he not been wounded and survived the ordeal that saw him almost left for dead, one feels for sure that a return to fighting would have been fatal for him. Almost at the end of his courageous attempts to do right against the futility of the war to end all wars he survived by luck. Luck that saw him sent to an officer training school instead of back to the front. Whilst here the war ended and I believe that is what most probably saved this hero's life.
Entitled a very unimportant officer I believe does little justice to this outstanding war hero but can understand the reason behind the title after reading this wonderful account.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great book, terrible Kindle edition - no pictures!, 16 Dec 2013
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This is an excellent book - I have the physical paperback, and now also the Kindle edition.

However, I am very disappointed that the publishers have not bothered to copy across the many illustrations which form an integral part of this book.

For example, one part of the book reads : "We were all very cold so started a good coke fire going in an old tin: this was placed at `B'. To try and stop the draught we hung an old blanket at `C'. The dug-out sloped down from `B' to `A'. I slept on the ground at `A'."

In the paperback, you get the writer's illustrations to explain this; in the Kindle edition, they haven't bothered to give any illustrations at all. So this bit of text is meaningless.

A black mark for Hodder & Stoughton; Amazon, please suggest to H&S that they need to do a better job with their Kindle editions in future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars and I have read a great deal of it, 5 Aug 2014
By 
Frank F (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Very Unimportant Officer: Life and Death on the Somme and at Passchendaele (Paperback)
much nonsense has been written (and no doubt more will be) about WW1, and I have read a great deal of it. It was therefore very refreshing to come across this book, which I could not put down. This is one man's experience of WW1, telling how it was for him, and a very good read it is. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Reality of WW 1, 30 Sep 2013
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This review is from: A Very Unimportant Officer: Life and Death on the Somme and at Passchendaele (Paperback)
My father wanted to know more about what life was like for his father who fought on the Somme and his uncle who was one of the many men who gave his life for his country
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best first-hand accounts of the Western Front, 14 April 2012
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This review is from: A Very Unimportant Officer: Life and Death on the Somme and at Passchendaele (Paperback)
Cameron Stewart found his grandfather's memoir from WW1, written in 1927 and consisting of 1914-18 diary entries (often very brief) with later added notes. He turned them into a one-man show at Edinburgh, and a series of readings on Radio Four.

This book, published in 2008, is absolutely fascinating, giving us a snapshot of one junior officer's war from training in the second half of 1915, then being posted to the Western Front in March 1916, until late September 1917 when he was badly wounded. Here is an unmissable account of the High Wood phase of the Somme, and of Third Ypres where he was eventually wounded.

There are the fascinating details that one always hopes to find in contemporary diaries, often lost in memoirs written years later with hindsight; for example Stewart's intense pleasure with finding any opportunity to wash, bathe and change his clothes; and his content at sitting in a shell-cater, even though under fire, because he has a pipe, matches and ample tobacco. The complex relationships between officers, their NCOs, and the battalion and brigade commanders, and the way that temporary officers were sometimes able to stand up to their superiors (because they had no post-war army career to risk), as opposed to regular officers (who did), was something new and fascinating to me: not least because my grandfather too was a temporary Captain in a regular-army battalion.

I would heartily recommend this book to any WW1 enthusiast - you have no excuse not to get a copy because it is now so inexpensive.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real historic document., 3 Sep 2011
This review is from: A Very Unimportant Officer: Life and Death on the Somme and at Passchendaele (Paperback)
Primary source historic documents are always; rightly, prized above all writings on history. This book is comprised of of superb diary entries but is enhanced by the later additions, both by the author and his grandson. The result is a magnificent work that portrays the realities of life in the World War I frontline. The author survived all the major battles of 1916-17 and his account of of these major engagements is rivetting.

It is particularly revealing that the author was frequently angered by the attempts of a senior officer to deny his company of the rum ration. He considered this ration a very valuable morale boost to soldiers subjected to extreme weather and almost constant danger. Another vital aid to sanity, in the terrible conditions of frontline service, was tobacco. The author often made mention of the beneficial effect of a smoke, usually in the form of a pipe, but sometimes a cigarette.

In these 'politically correct' times there are many busy bodies who would try and deny our fighting men of both alcohol and tobacco. Thankfully the author of these superb memoirs lived in a more pragmatic era and was able to enjoy his simple vices without censure. We owe much to men such as he and it is revealing that despite being badly wounded in WWI, and serving with anti-aircraft artillery in WWII, he lived to the ripe old age of 83. I found this book both informative and moving and I am so glad that his grandson was able to publish this work. This book is a vital addition to any bookshelf belonging to anyone who has an interest in, or is studying, the Great War. A well deserved five stars.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very important read, 27 Jan 2010
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This review is from: A Very Unimportant Officer: Life and Death on the Somme and at Passchendaele (Paperback)
I find world war 1 interesting and this was to me a great read on an important subject, and would recommend.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Vague recollections written too long after the event., 8 Dec 2010
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This review is from: A Very Unimportant Officer: Life and Death on the Somme and at Passchendaele (Paperback)
Book based on diary notes made during the war. The diary notes are at best one or two lines per day. This has been fleshed out into a narrative by the officer some 11 years later. As a result, there is no sharpness of detail, compared to the works available from soldiers who wrote up their experiences during or straight after the event.

As a keen reader of WW1 memoirs, I found this book totally uninformative, unable to bring any focus onto any events, going over the actualities of trench life without any new insights. Far better to read something written at the time like From Hill 60 to the Somme by Shepherd, War Letters To A Wife by Feilding, Soldiers from War Returning by Carrington, Call to Arms by Joseph Murray.
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