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If You're Reading This...: Last Letters from the Front Line by [Price, Siân]
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If You're Reading This...: Last Letters from the Front Line Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Length: 288 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

An aspect of war never fully looked at before, the farewell letter writing by troops is fascinatingly and moving explored by Sian Price. - Northern Echo

About the Author

Siân Price is an award-winning television and radio producer whose credits include Time Team and Coal House. She has a BA in History from Warwick University and an MA in Film Archiving from the University of East Anglia. This is her first book. The Radio 4 documentary from which the book has grown won a New York World Radio Award for History.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3933 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Frontline Books (29 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CBJY0AE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #389,908 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A beautifully written and interesting book. Really captures the mood and feelings of those writing their welfare letters to their loved ones. Well worth the purchase and read.
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Format: Hardcover
an amazing compilation of 'last words' from soldiers through the centuries to their loved ones, this is a very powerful book and difficult to read. Not becaue it is poorly done but because the letters, the last wishes and thoughts of soldiers from the Napoleonic wars through the current war in Afghanistan are so powerful that it can only be handled in small doses.

One element that comes through as remarkably similiar through the men regardless of the war natinoality or even level of education is the similarity of the thoughts. Very few get jingoistic about 'gave my life for the cause.' Instead most talk about the hope they have not caused too much pain by their loss or the hope they will be remembered fondly or that their finest momments have been with their family. It is very intimate and one cannot help but feel like an interloper, but at the same time you are grateful for the chance to know, even in a small way, the soldiers who wrote the letters and feel the sense of loss at their untimely deaths.

In the end this is not an easy book to read, but it is a very powerful book, looking at those men in uniform which gave the last full measure of devotion, whom Kipling so well described as "most remarkable like you."
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Format: Hardcover
The structure of the book is straightforward enough - to each conflict a chapter, each chapter in two sections. The second half of each chapter is where the book works best; a series of short bio's of soldiers, along with lengthy quotes from various letters they wrote. The first section is less satisfactory. Broken down further by sub-headings, such as "A Soldiers Lot: Daily Slog & Hardships", facts given are sometimes somewhat random & rather disconnected from their sub-headings, quotes from letters are often only a sentence at a time and/or lack any sort of context or proper explanation. Thus on one page, we are told First Lieutenant Hennah wrote to the widow of George Duff. It is only on the next that we meet Captain George Duff of HMS Mars, presumably the same George Duff & presumably Hennah's Captain!

Unfortunately, whilst the author has a history degree, she is no historian. She has three serious faults that detract considerably from the book. First, she lacks any sort of academic rigour. Apart from the example above, the sub-heading for one bio states "Killed 2nd September 1862", but the text says he was shot on 30th August & died of his wounds the next day! Of another soldier, we are told his parents "had six children - four boys and three girls..." Such basic errors lead one to wonder how may other less glaring errors are hidden in the book (and what her editor was doing!). She is also prone to making absolute statements for which she presents no evidence, which leads me to the next problem.

She appears to have little understanding of, or empathy with, earlier periods of history, and approaches the subject with an entirely modern mind-set. For example, more than once in the early part of the book, she states that, in post-battle letters, the writers were in shock.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book it wasnt just letters the author gave information about dates regiments battles so it is a
good history book brought to life by reading one persons thoughts who was there or about to be in battle and they were not all killed .The letters make you think what would I say to my family my fate was staring me in the face seeing others wounded and dying by me what would i want to say .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Initially bought after hearing a radio review with the author. Not an easy book to read but everyone should read this, less we forget. Actually only got half way through it before son purloined it - he is a historian and not only read it from that perspective but uses it as part of his curriculum with his GCSE students.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this book after hearing about it on a TV interview. It appealed to me as I was researching bereavement reactions. The book surpassed my expectations as the historical references accompanying the letters added to the stories each chapter contained. Don't be put off by the sadness of the letters - it is history and events told incredibly well by those who didn't come home and discovered by the author.
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Format: Hardcover
A wonderful read and insight into the touching and heartful stories of conflict.

Written to keep the readed engrossed in the human side of conflict. I learnt so much about many instances throughout the years, whilst warming to the personal side .
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Format: Hardcover
I was so looking forward to receiving this book as I had heard so much about it.Unfortunately after having a quick flick through the day it arrived I was somewhat disappointed. Although the author had taken so much time in researching the history behind the conflicts of the periods in which the letters home had been sent, it wasn't what I was expecting. I was hoping for more letters home expressing their personal feelings at the time , instead there were very few letters and too much about the history of the conflicts. Being married to a serviceman I was hoping that it would help me better to understand what they were feeling whilst away and facing the prospect of never returning home to their loved ones. Although I found it unsuitable for my needs a reader who is more into war history may find it more suitable. The book was returned without having read it.
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