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4.8 out of 5 stars53
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 31 July 2014
This is a fabulous but very saddening book. It is an easy read, being well written. It is different fromother WW1 factual books as it really goes behind the scenes somewhat to the experiences of families at home and also those at war on the Western Front. It does it with so much ease for the reader, which is testament to the author's research and his skill in transferring the information to book format. A wonderful piece of text to treasure. I believe that this book should be used in schools as an educating tool as it provides a picture that no other book, at least that I know of, produces. It would be especially useful if read prior to, or after, a WW1 War Graves visit.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 2 January 2014
This book examines the effect of the First World War on families: the soldiers, their wives, and their children. A number of the latter were interviewed by the author, and their testimony makes extremely sad, moving, yet sometimes inspiring reading.

If you enjoy the Max Arthur "Forgotten Voices" books you will probably enjoy this. The format is broadly similar, though in this book Richard Van Emden provides much more linking and commenting material between the extensive quotes.

There are already numerous books available on the First World War, with no doubt many more to come, but this one is definitely worth reading.
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on 6 November 2011
I have read some of Richard's previous books - so I expected to find that this latest book was authoritative and sensitive from an author who had the privilege of interviewing many Great War veterans before they passed on.

But this book also takes a completely new angle on the First World War by focusing on the lives of the families left behind without husbands, fathers, brothers and uncles.

With no social security safety net for families left without a breadwinner, life was never the same again for 192,000 women who lost their husbands and nearly 400,000 children who were left fatherless. The consequences were also felt by future generations.

Richard has been able to gain access to a wealth of material to compile thought-provoking stories. Letters, diaries, even drawings sent home from soldiers to their children make up a picture of how the loss of these men was so keenly felt.

It's a compelling, page-turning read that will make you feel proud, humble and moved.
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on 21 July 2012
Excellent book which really helps you understand the thoughts and emtions of not only those who fought but those who were left behind. I have many books on the Great War but this ranks with the very best.
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on 8 January 2015
Gives very human stories of the families caught up in war. Very sobering to see what life was like in the pre NHS and Social Security world that surrounds us today. 12% of war widows dies within 12 months of their husbands being killed at the front - a very sobering thought. Hardship at the front, and poverty and uncertainty at home was the norm for so many.
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on 18 September 2014
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, even more so as I was in France touring the battlefields at the time. This book is well written and researched, it is easy to forget those who were left to cope with the tragedies of war, even more so now, as we commemorate those who fell 100 years ago.

I look forward to reading more from this author.
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on 17 September 2013
A well researched and sympathetically written account of some of the less well known effects of the First World War on families and individuals. Loss, torment, sadness, intrigue and humour are all encountered. Even if you have little or no interest in WW1 or military history in general, you cannot fail to enjoy this book.
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on 25 December 2011
As a former History teacher I found this book offered a very interesting insight into the lives of ordinary people touched by the war. In class you tend to concentrate on the War Poets and the Trench warfare. This book is a very good supoplement to those studies.
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on 18 February 2012
This is a fascinating and deeply moving book. I finished in just a few days as I couldn't put it down. I have always has an interest in the Grear War and this is one of the best books I have read, it's extremely well put together.It doesn't just focus on letters and memories from soldiers serving at the Front, but also letters from desperate relatives at home trying to find news of their loved ones and it doing so gives a much wider view of the people of the time. I visited the Western Front last year and this has inspired me to book another visit. I would highly recommend this.
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on 7 October 2012
An engrossing,thoroughly researched,well-written and extremely moving book about WWI and its impacts on the people left behind and British society at large.
In less than 2 years'time,we will 'celebrate' the centenary of the beginning of this horrific conflict.It is our duty to ensure that this war does not totally recede from our consciousness.This wonderful book should be read by millions.
It reminds me of the great channel 4 documentary series entitled Not Forgotten from 2005/2007 presented by Ian Hislop and the equally outstanding tie-in book by Neil Oliver. The tv series is still unavailable on dvd ! Heart-breaking.
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