4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One Of The Very Best,
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This review is from: They Called it Passchendaele: The Story of the Battle of Ypres and of the Men Who Fought in it (Paperback)
As the author of Kindle's World War One: A Layman's Guide I am passionate about opening up the history of WW1 to more and more people, beyond the geeks and anoraks that read everything that is published. In my opinion, Lyn MacDonald is one of the very few writers that have managed to open up the subject of the First World War and make it accessible and enjoyable to a mainstream audience. How has she achieved this? By simply allowing the soldiers to tell the story. She resists the temptation to jump in and over-analyse scenarios and situations, instead, she takes a back seat and lets the veterans become the stars of the show. These old soldiers speak in simple language that is very easy to empathise with, and as such paint a vivid picture of what it was like for normal men, who had normal civilian lives, to be suddenly thrown into the trenches of the Ypres Salient during the second half of 1917. The way she sympathetically weaves their stories into her light narrative transports the reader directly into the trenches, and very quickly you are up to your knees in mud and dodging the shrapnel with these veterans. There are many books that have subsequently tried to replicate what MacDonald has done, but she is still one of the very best.