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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wealth of detail and atmosphere, 10 Nov 2013
This review is from: Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War (Hardcover)
There are two big problems in attempting a book like this: how to marry the text with the images, and how to make reconstructive images that are both `then' and `now'. Should the text be explaining the images, or should the images be illustrating the text, or should they be apart but parallel? And in photographing period scenarios using objects which were new then, do you use authentic objects which have aged, or reproduction objects which look appropriately new?

These questions arise while simultaneously reading and examining the photographs in `Remembering Tommy'. It's an extraordinary book, giving both an extensive overview, and inviting the reader to look closely at detail. For the first question the book has taken the third position, with the text and images being autonomous, but at the same time examining the same subjects. As regards the second question, the author and photographer have for the most part managed to show objects in extraordinarily good condition in settings which appear to have compressed the last century into nothing.

That said, there is a curious emptiness, an absence of people in the scenario photographs, provoking the feeling that someone has just left the space. Where is the soldier who has left his rifle in position? Who is drinking the tea at the table? Perhaps it is an invitation to read ourselves into these spaces. When the photographs do show people I think they work well, because what we see is the hand, the turned away face; we know these are actors, and they curiously emphasize the role of the objects playing their parts in this story. Would the odd shadow here and there have helped? Perhaps, but it might have looked too contrived and theatrical; the important aspect of the photographs is that they all show the real thing.

These are small points, because the photography is stunning. As is the text, from one of the foremost authorities in the material culture of the First World War. There is detail here to satisfy anyone - where did the candles used in the front line come from, what were the slang expressions used in the training camps in France, what was army rum like, and what happened to you if you lost the handle of your spade? Incidentally, why did the first wave of troops at the Battle of the Somme carry spades with them? Obvious when you know.

Can you have too much detail? I don't think so. We know so much about the First World War. We have turned it over for 100 years, but we will never know what it felt like to advance over no man's land in 1916, or to receive the dreaded telegram. But the details like those shown and described in `Remembering Tommy' bring us closer - sometimes uncomfortably, but throughout with care, fascination and respect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute delight., 26 May 2014
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This review is from: Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War (Hardcover)
Like one of the reviewers whose feedback I read before ordering this book, I'm posting this more or less immediately on receipt. In short, even after the briefest of looks, I cannot imagine anyone with an interest in the Great War NOT being delighted with 'Remembering Tommy'. Its coverage is obviously so wide-ranging and its presentation so rich and varied that I - very unusually - wanted to publish my initial reaction immediately. In fact I can't wait to get back to the book and enjoy it properly. I speak as one who spends a good deal of time researching (for group/area memorials and for individuals with a genealogical interest), so I have a roomful of resource materials. This book may not prove to be a factual resource of huge value - I have no idea whether it will or not - but I do know that I'm going to take great pleasure from delving into its beautifully presented pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better the expected!!!, 25 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War (Hardcover)
I was expecting a book with a few pictures/diagrams and an explanation. The book was delightful, it has a lovely hard cover with a photograph of incidentals that the soldiers would have used. The book itself is suitable for both the novice and the experienced person teenager or adult who is familiar with World War I because there is something 'new' you are bound to learn.

I really recommend this book it is exceptional and the price is great.

Thanks
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to help understand and remember Tommy, 24 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War (Hardcover)
I saw this book advertised in a local well known book shop at it`s full retail price. Including p&p I saved just over 8.00 by purchasing via Amazon. The book it`s self is a useful reference to the life of Tommy. Well written and researched with beautiful and informative photographs..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 11 Oct 2013
This review is from: Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War (Hardcover)
A fantastic book and the fitting tribute to the British soldier of the Great War. Using original artifacts of in their historic settings the authors manage to bring WW1 back to life. Highly recommended! Not only for those interested in military history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remembering Tommy, 15 Oct 2013
This review is from: Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War (Hardcover)
Remembering Tommy is a beautiful and informative book and is an excellent tribute to the real lives of the British soldiers who fought in the First World War. Through a staggering number of photographs and illustrations as well as first person accounts, Peter Doyle and Chris Foster chart the experiences of average soldiers from the moment they enlisted through their service in the trenches right up until their homecoming. Remembering Tommy is a book to take time over and then treasure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting insight into the the first world war, 27 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War (Hardcover)
Excellent look at First World War . I read it with a heavy heart, the carnage was tangible in this read .
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully illustrative depiction of the life of a WWI soldier., 9 Oct 2013
This review is from: Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War (Hardcover)
Remembering Tommy offers readers a real insight into the life of a soldier in the Great War both at home and away on the front lines.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remembering Tommy, 24 Oct 2013
This review is from: Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War (Hardcover)
I've been aware of the books preparation for some time, but only took possession of a copy just this morning.
Bearing in mind I've only had the book for little more than four hours and as yet I've not read a word of it, any sort of review might seem pointless, however I'm already very familiar with Peter Doyle's other works, most notably for me: 'Tommys War, British Militaria 1914 - 1918' so I know the work is going to be well put together, very readable and informative. However, I want to enthuse about this latest work because from the moment you cast eyes on the cover, you will know you are in for a visual, as well as informative treat. Photography/illustration is by both Chris Foster and Peter and what a job they have done! The book is a perfect size for reading and handling, and I can't wait to delve further into it. Highly recommended by me and sure to make it into numerous Christmas stockings! Well done Peter & Chris.

David Upton
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Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War
Remembering Tommy: The British Soldier in the First World War by Chris Foster (Hardcover - 1 Oct 2013)
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