Gerard J. De Groot's, "Blighty" stands out amongst histories of the Great War from the British perspective. In it he tells the story of how the war affected much more than that relatively narrow strip of land called the Western Front and relates the impact it had upon British society as a whole.
The book sheds new light on many strongly held beliefs about the war, such as that most women worked in the munitions factories. In fact, the largest source of employment for female labour remaine domestic service despite the massive increase in armaments production. But this is to pick out only one very small element within a huge subject.
In this respect this book stands with Trevor Wilson's, "The Myriad Faces of War", ambitious in its range but soundly based upon a mountain of research. No understanding of the British experience in the Great War can be complete without reading this book (and Trevor Wilson's). Buy it - you won't be disappointed.
on 3 October 2013
This book written by acclaimed writer and historian Gerard J. DeGroot is a book easy to read and one which is not easily put down. Within the book various topics and questions are brought forth which bring to light many aspects of Britain and her Empire in the years 1907 to 1922.
Some of the main topics covered are why Britain entered the war; British attitudes before and after the war, the politics involved, front-line views on the war, remembrance and commemorations surrounding not just the dead but the living, as well as female roles during this time. Also considered is the economy during this time, health and housing issues and the use of propaganda. The topics discussed are well covered and keep the reader well informed.
It is clear that that DeGroot has done more than enough research following a well armed bibliography and use of references. For anyone considering this book, it is a good read and probably one of the most useful books one can find on the topics covered.
on 5 June 2014
Irritated by the author's switching between "the British" and "the English," - if something was praiseworthy it was British, if it was not it was English. The regular soldiers of Britain might have been "scum" according to the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo because he knew them well, but they were hardly that a century later as the author sweepingly maintains as he dismisses them in a couple of paragraphs. And I kept coming across passages in the book that seemed familiar, as though I'd read them before. Then I saw the bibliography and realised I had.