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To the Last Man: Spring, 1918 Paperback – 28 Oct 1999

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (28 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140268405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140268409
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 406,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

When Lyn Macdonald published her first World War I history, They Called It Passchendaele, in 1978, it had all the hallmarks of a labour of love. Six books later the project has become a debt of honour.

To The Last Man follows the usual Macdonald format. She relies on archival data to provide the skeleton of the narrative, and uses eyewitness accounts of veterans involved in the action to provide the flesh and blood. The result, as ever, is a compassionate and often disturbing account that brings the reader as close to understanding the minds of those who had to endure the mud, the snipers, the noise, the chaos, the boredom, the loneliness, the shelling, the bravery and the terror as we are likely to get.

Television and newspapers have only just discovered the power of the eyewitness foot soldier, having hitherto relied on self-serving politicians and generals for their history. However, the media has not learnt the difference between using the veterans' own words to make a producer or writer's point and allowing them to speak for themselves. Because she's been at it for so long and has had time to build relationships with the old soldiers, Macdonald has, and it is this that makes this book so special. She points out that we have become accustomed to talking of the "horrors" of World War I and to talking of the soldiers as "victims", but that none of the survivors ever used the word "horror" to describe their experiences and that to describe them as "victims" is demeaning. These men were not innocent dupes; they may have hated the war, despised their generals and been scared stiff, but they did believe in a cause and drew a sense of achievement from what they had endured.

. Macdonald has only one more book to write--that taking us to the end of the war. By the time it comes out there will almost certainly be no survivors left. I think that both Macdonald and the veterans would agree there is a poetic symmetry about that. --John Crace --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 28 October 2014
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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on 22 May 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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on 11 June 2013
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 2 October 2000
Format: Paperback
0Comment| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 March 1999
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 July 2000
Format: Paperback
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 January 1999
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 November 2001
Format: Paperback
0Comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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