on 12 September 2006
This very readable volume from the splendid Pen and Sword Military Classics series , was first published in 1965. It is written by a distinguished academic who having served in the British army and fought in the both the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele, actually waited nearly fifty years before writing this book. This vast lapse in time, resulted in him being able to reflect on the wartime events, draw on other's experiences, conduct further research and finally give a great deal of thought to this work and the successfully put it all into perspective, making it the excellent volume that it is.
As well as his factual accounts of events on the battlefield, topics covered include - politicians and generals at that time, Kitchener's Army, censorship, tank warfare in its early stages, gas attacks and the sex life of soldiers! Therefore making it an invaluable source of reference for any Great War enthusiast or researcher.
The author certainly lived a fascinating life, having been awarded a Military Cross whilst serving in a line regiment during the Great War, he then graduated from Oxford and later taught at Haileybury. He went on to become a publisher at Cambridge University Press and served as a staff officer at HQ Bomber Command during the Second World War. He was also Professor of Commonwealth Relations at Chatham House and Visiting Professor at the University of Tennessee. A remarkable man and a remarkable book!
on 6 October 2009
Carrington survived 2 years as a subaltern in France and wrote in the 20's under the name Charles Edmonds a long out of print memoir " A subaltern's war". In the 1960's as a retired academic he wrote this as a personal and historical analysis of the war and was able to compare his experiences as a world war 2 staff officer with those of his youthful self. His admirable analysis is simply the best book of the dozens I have read of world war 1. An informative relatively objective history that shows Haig to be probably the best senior commmander of the war, another surprise.
on 17 October 2012
Charles Carrington wrote a memoir of his Great War experiences, "A Subaltern's War", published in 1919 under the name of "Charles Edmonds". This was reprinted in paperback several times, most recently in 1984, and second-hand copies are still widely available.
But he came back in 1965 with this second volume, which contains further analysis of his war, particularly in the light of his service as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Second World War. Full of insights and anecdotes he has a second bite of the cherry; particurly revealing is account of how he broke down after 3rd Ypres in autumn 1917, and back with a training battalion in England he found occassional sollace in dressing as a private soldier and mixing with other-ranks.
As in his first memoir he is keen to prove that the British soldier did not see the war as futile - he had volunteered because he believed in a cause, and fought on through the darkest days because he maintained the belief that he was fighting a just war.
There are many good first-hand memoirs of the Great War, most of which have something useful to add to the sum of knowledge about what must be the most written-about war of all, but this is arguably amongst the most important half-dozen and needs to be read by anyone who claims to know about the Western Front.
on 20 August 2015
I feel really bad about this. I complained that it was ex-libris and obviously read by several people, and they sent me my money back but said keep the book. It's a very readable book, the sort of book you can't wait to get back to reading. You can also open it at any page and read. Charles Carrington is an excellent writer. I immediately ordered his "Soldier at Bomber Command".
on 18 January 2015
I first read this book in 1970 at the age of fourteen. I had read a lot of the genre, and in my opinion Carrington's work lacked the introspection that spoiled Graves', Owen's and Sassoon's books for me. Older and wiser now, I have enjoyed them all. But my copy of Carrington's book has fallen to pieces, and I need a new one.