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There's a Devil in the Drum Hardcover – 20 Jun 2006
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Top customer reviews
This excellent volume tells the fascinating story of John Lucy, a young man from Cork, who shortly after leaving school, was, along with his brother locked out of their home by their Father one evening and told to stay out. They therefore traveled to Dublin and being full of life and spirit and seeking adventure, joined the Royal Irish Rifles in January 1912.
After training at the depot and subsequent postings to both Dover and Tidworth, they joined the 2nd Battalion as it moved to France. Sadly his brother was killed at the Aisne, however John saw action at Mons, Le Cateau, the Aisne, 3rd Ypres , Cambrai and Neuve Chapelle where his unit was reduced to just 2 officers and 46 men, when 181 men were killed in less than four days!
This brave young man eventually received a well deserved commissioned and saw further action before he received wounds that meant his return to England and the end of the war.
This is a superb book will be invaluable to military historians with an interest in the Great War and the Irish Divisions, it is one of the few volumes available that describe the early battles of 1914. In 1938, a critic wrote - `it is easily the best [war book] written by an Irishman' - this in my opinion is still true and therefore many will not want to be without it.
Not only are the horrors of trench life and the needless slaughter described here, but also the compassion, the humour and the moving are all here in abundance.
Another aspect of the book is the viewpoint of an Irishman fighting for the Britsh which is tactfully protrayed in Lucy's highly interesting text.
I would recommend this book to anyone. Buy it and I guarentee you will not be disapointed.
Whatever is published between 2014 and 2018, and a lot of it will be very good, by the likes of Peter Barton, Peter Hart, Richard van Emden and others, Lucy's 'There's a Devil in the Drum' will still be up there with the very best. You'll be missing out if you do not read this.
Only down side: such a good book deserves a much better cover!! But it's the words inside that count
Interestingly Lucy suffered a nervous breakdown, or 'shell shock, and there is rare description of this from the point of view of the sufferer. All round well recommended.
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