This is a stunning full colour richly illustrated publication that is provocative and informative in its thesis and striking in its design. Some of Ireland's finest historians are contributors. Check out the Jack Duggan series of letters written by a soldier from the day he enlisted to the day before he died in Gallipoli. You cannot but be moved. The green poppy on the front cover is a stroke of genius.The reproduction of original documents thoughout the book is magnificently done; soldiers's wills & letters, cartoons, diary accounts of suicides in the trenches etc. The book accompanies a RTE radio series of the same name.
Horne's book is one of the few sustained works on a rather difficult topic, which is gradually being rewritten into our history. What I found particularly impressive was its inclusion of the visual legacy, in popular print media, memorials and the work of artists. Thoughtful essays are accompanied throughout by carefully reproduced illustrations of archival material from sources such as Trinity College Library and the National Library of Ireland. The ambivalence attached to Irish identity and WWI is pointed up by Irish artist Harry Clarke's decorative borders for a rare war memorial album (NLI), illustrated on the front cover.
I think this is a perfect present. I've given it to my dad already and he can't get over the fact that you can read soldiers letters as they wrote them on maths notepaper etc.
And there's a thing with the proclamation where a British soldier took it down from the GPO but took layers of recruitment posters down with it, they have a picture of that. I've only read three chapters so far, but I'm looking forward to reading the rest.