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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 29 Oct. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: When This Bloody War Is Over: Soldiers' Songs of the First World War (Hardcover)
an excellent introduction leads to a memorably nostalgic selection of all kinds of songs - I bought it for my grandfather who was delighted - and I was surprised how many I knew myself (I am 45)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good if you just want the lyrics and brief historical notes, 27 Aug. 2011
By 
A. J. Sturgess "Alan Sturgess" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When This Bloody War Is Over: Soldiers' Songs of the First World War (Hardcover)
The long introduction by Lyn Macdonald is superb and sets the scene extremely well and to great effect. Thereafter, the main author focuses on providing very brief contextual and/or historical notes before printing the lyrics for the songs. This therefore gives the book very much the style of an academic reference resource - which, I suppose, is what it's meant to be. But this does somewhat make it step back from the horrors and emotional impact of WWI, despite relying upon those introductions and the transcribed lyrics of the songs.

As I read through the book, I couldn't help but compare MA's style to that of Roy Palmer who has also published a book which covers a similar topic but with regard to a wider sweep of history. ('What a Lovely War: British Soldiers' Songs from the Boer War to the Present Day'). Lyn Macdonald also worked on this book as well. Whereas Palmer if often expansive and imaginatively descriptive when providing introductions for songs, Max Arthur is more concise and dry.

In both books, the authors provide information about which tunes the songs were based upon, but neither actual notation nor melody lines. In many cases, I assume this is because of copyright issues and costs.

If you do want books which contain both historical information, lyrics and music, then a good example would be Roy Palmer's 'Ballad History of England' or any of his non-military themed books such as 'Poverty Knock: A Picture of Industrial Life in the Nineteenth Century Through Songs, Ballads and Contemporary Accounts'.

On balance, then, I feel that Max Arthur's book deserves a solid 4 star review but that it lacks that little bit of something extra or special which would earn it 5 stars.

On the other hand, of course, it is one of very few books which cover this topic.

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If you want to look at the other two books I have mentioned, these are the links:

What a Lovely War: British Soldiers' Songs from the Boer War to the Present Day

Ballad History of England: From 1588 to the Present Day

Poverty Knock: A Picture of Industrial Life in the Nineteenth Century Through Songs, Ballads and Contemporary Accounts
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HISTORY IS IN ALL THE WORDS., 7 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: When This Bloody War Is Over: Soldiers' Songs of the First World War (Hardcover)
I found it very evocative and I was especially pleased to discover the words to songs that I have known for years, but usually had to him to!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intersting look at social atitudes in difficult times, 20 Oct. 2013
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Interesting book and its interesting to read the words of the songs that maintained moral at a difficult time and in horrendous conditions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive collection of song lyrics, 10 Nov. 2014
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M. Counsell (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When This Bloody War Is Over: Soldiers' Songs of the First World War (Hardcover)
A marvellous assortment of song-lyrics; my father fought in 1914-18, and sang some of the cleaner ones when we were children. The book would be improved if some of the melodies had been printed, but that would have made it much bigger and more costly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great songs from a not so great war!, 4 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: When This Bloody War Is Over: Soldiers' Songs of the First World War (Hardcover)
Lots of detail here about the songs and divided neatly into relative sections like homefront songs and battlefront songs. I believc this is out of print but several copies have been seen second-hand. It's like reading about the first pop charts.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the ..., 14 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: When This Bloody War Is Over: Soldiers' Songs of the First World War (Hardcover)
I found thid selection most interesting and enjoyable. As with all collections there are some songs missing that I would have expected, but I have other collections. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the subject.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A different WW! book, 27 Aug. 2013
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Mr. C. Bravey "Referee" (Reading UK) - See all my reviews
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I could almost sing along to some of these songs. Before my time but all the old favourites were there. Lets we forget indeed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 15 Jun. 2015
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I LIKE THE BOOK WITH THE AUTHENTIC WORD THAT WERE ACTUALY USED BY THE TROOPS
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: When This Bloody War Is Over: Soldiers' Songs of the First World War (Hardcover)
good
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