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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating selection of individuals moulded by the trenches
This is a great book if you have an interest in the Great War, or indeed, on the effect of the war on the early 20th century in Britain. The selection of individuals is fascinating, ranging from individuals whose art was shaped by their traumatic experiences like Henry Moore, whose endurance and relish for life were heightened like George Mallory, or whose involvement in...
Published on 31 Dec 2008 by Withnail67

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice try but not quite there
I anticipated a collection of interesting accounts of the lives of some famous personages, but alas, I found more meanderings and duplications and some very basic information. This book could have been trimmed or the content more informatively compiled. With two authors listed, I felt I could see where one left off and the other began. Not a gentle coupling of two first...
Published on 6 Oct 2009 by Joe Average


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating selection of individuals moulded by the trenches, 31 Dec 2008
By 
Withnail67 (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Famous (Hardcover)
This is a great book if you have an interest in the Great War, or indeed, on the effect of the war on the early 20th century in Britain. The selection of individuals is fascinating, ranging from individuals whose art was shaped by their traumatic experiences like Henry Moore, whose endurance and relish for life were heightened like George Mallory, or whose involvement in even more savage conflicts to come were conditioned by the nature of their experiences on the Western Front like Bernard Law Montgomery.

Different readers are well catered for, as the text follows individuals on the ground via excellent photographs and maps as well as placing them in their military context in the wider fighting. There are plenty of evocative portraits of familiar faces in khaki uniform, which visually indicate the power of this book.

Most surprising was the account of Arnold Ridley (Private Godfrey in Dad's Army) with the Somerset Light Infantry, whose courage was placed in sharp contrast with his bumbling character. I found myself most moved by the account of the death of Ned Parfett, the famous newspaper boy photographed in 1912 carrying a billboard announcing the sinking of the Titanic. He became an icon of the earlier tragedy which seems to have symbolically prefigured the Great War.

The authors have provided an authoritative and accessible read which supplies plenty of leads for wider reading into these individuals, as well as access to tantalisingly rare and unpublished material. Above all, the book is a tender elegy for a generation who wore their trauma and grief with decorum, resolution and cool outrage.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, 16 Feb 2009
By 
I. Jones "icj" (Liverpool UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Famous (Hardcover)
My wife bought me this for Christmas knowing my obsession with the Great War and I must admit that this is very different from the other books I have. These are personal stories of men who were or became famous after the war. Each of them saw action of one form or another and it affected them in their own ways. This is a very human history. I can recommend it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Famous, by Richard Van Emden and Victor Piuk, 26 Nov 2008
This review is from: Famous (Hardcover)
After recently reading Richard Van Emden's latest book The Soldiers War, I really felt the urge to look at another of his works, this one being co-authored by Victor Piuk, and I have to say that I was not to be dissapointed, frequently finding it difficult to put down.
It tells the story of 21 famous characters who were in most cases houehold names, and although I knew of all of the subjects covered, I didn't know anything of their war service, and what fascinating reading they make.
It is obvious when reading this book that the authors have carried out extensive research into these personalities and each story is also accompanied by a biographical section.
There is also a really nice photo section, this includes some very interesting pictures taken by the authors on the battlefields at the actual sites of action for some of their subjects.
All in all, this book is a must buy, it is not some dull boring account of strategy and statistics, but it is the real war stories of some ordinary people who in most cases went on to become truely extraordinary personalities in their time.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice try but not quite there, 6 Oct 2009
This review is from: Famous (Hardcover)
I anticipated a collection of interesting accounts of the lives of some famous personages, but alas, I found more meanderings and duplications and some very basic information. This book could have been trimmed or the content more informatively compiled. With two authors listed, I felt I could see where one left off and the other began. Not a gentle coupling of two first class carriages at the station, more a crashing together of freight wagons. An annoying number of typographical errors cropped up and to emphasise my earlier point, duplications in content. The format became familiar, which in itself was not a problem. Firstly the account of war service, followed by a personal outline of the man pre and post war. I felt I could almost estimate the lack of excitement mounting in some accounts and was rewarded for my foreboding with a less than sparkling account of the man outside of war. Life is more interesting than this, if only time is taken to elicit the detail

All in all not a book I would recommend for the ardent WW I biography reader. This is possibly the weakest van Emden book I have read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 9 July 2014
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This review is from: Famous (Hardcover)
a very interesting book
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Famous
Famous by Vic Piuk (Hardcover - 17 April 2008)
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