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A well-told account of a terrible time,
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This review is from: Somme Mud (Kindle Edition)
Every now and then one comes across an especially extraordinary book. Somme Mud, real diary of an Australian infantryman serving in the trenches in World War I, is one such book.
It's not a perfect book: some aspects of Lynch's time at war are skipped over, such as time spent recovering from wounds or when resting between campaigns. Whether this is down to Lynch, or the editor who knocked the diary into shape posthumously, I don't know. Overall, these don't detract from what is an excellent, moving and often harrowing account of a most war.
And harrowing it is: the descriptions of the relentless deaths and injuries are often graphic, though never indulgent. The sheer senselessness and, to a certain extent, gory tedium and monotony of the war bear down on the reader page after page. That men - some who were little more than boys - could cope with this terrible situation is nothing short of astonishing.
There are acts of heroism, moments of incredible luck and even some really quite funny situations. And of course there are accounts of violence, brutality and killing that turn the stomach - and, in the middle of it all, some genuinely moving acts of kindness, even towards the enemy.
I can totally understand many readers not having the stomach to read a book like this - but it deserves to be read, to keep alive the reality of a war that distinguishes itself in history by the sheer expendability of human life.