19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A great read, interspersed with occasional dullness,
This review is from: Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front (Paperback)
I am a keen reader of WW1 accounts from the western front, so when Tommy was published and heavily promoted on the History channel I made no hesitation in rushing to making a purchase.
It is a weighty tome and I took great delight in delving in and out of it throughout the course of a month. But my feedback has to be mixed. I think the book is trying to cover too many angles, many of which are very enjoyable to read, and interspersed with wonderful first hand accounts, but there are whole chapters that proved tiresome to struggle through. I guess it is unavoidable but you get the mandatory pages devoted to describing different regiments that all blur into one after a while, but for some this may be of interest.
But battle through some of the less interesting chapters and the book is an enjoyable and rewarding read. I found the more interesting chapters appeared toward the end of the book, so dont give up on it.
I would also not recommend it to anyone that doesnt already understand the conflict as their is very little peripheral information to put Tommy life into the context of the war. The origins of the war are briefly skirted over in an early chapter, but without my existing knowledge of the war I would probably be left very curious about the bigger picture.
So if you are a WW1 'newbie' then I would recommend getting the full picture of the conflict first, possibly by watching 'The Great War' 1950s series (available on DVD box set)or reading Dorling Kindersley's - First World War by H.P Wilmott.
In terms of content, there is everything you could possibly ever want to know about the WW1 Tommy: trench life, singing, language, moustaches and food to name but a few. As a WW1 interesting read this now rates second in my collection after Max Arthurs wonderful 'Voices from the Western Front'.
So in summary, if you are a follower of WW1 this is a must for your collection, and stick with it for an informative and enjoying read.