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Woodbine Willie: An Unsung Hero of World War One Paperback – 22 Mar 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Books (22 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745955614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745955612
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"Woodbine Willie was remarkable. After his years as an army chaplain, he campaigned against a social system that rewarded those returning from the trenches with poverty and indifference. No one is more equipped to recover the memory of this great and complex figure than Bob Holman." -- Richard Holloway, Former Bishop of Edinburgh "This is a fascinating tale of an inspiring figure." --Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, London "Timely and well researched... well written. If you like a good biography with the sniff of cordite, this is not to be missed." Evangelicals Now

About the Author

Bob Holman, described by The Daily Telegraph as 'The Good Man of Glasgow', has made a mission of living alongside the disadvantaged of British society. He is a regular contributor to The Guardian, and the author of several books.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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a well written stimulating account of the life of a radical and influential Christian minister who reached millions outside the doors of the Church in the trenches as a chaplain and after World War 1 as a wide ranging travelling speaker ..His message of the reality of the living Christ as one who suffered and died for us all regardless of our culture of class made a huge impact and is the same today .His insights on the senseless of war and means to bring reconciliation and peace are still much needed today.

Bob Holman has researched the book very thoroughly including talking to relatives and people who knew him and the book also forms a fine introduction Stoddert Kennedys writing -still very much worth reading today .
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Fr. Studdart Kennedy came from a long line of priests and his dad was vicar of a church I knew well: St. Mary’s, Quarry Hill, Leeds. The Quarry Hill flats, now demolished, were eyed up by Adolf Hitler for the base of his operations in Northern England.

Most of his ministry was in working class parishes of a moderate catholic tradition – ceremonial was to help people to pray, not an end in itself, and the daily mass was established.

And he was popular. He spoke their ‘salty’ language. He converted more men over a pint of beer than most parsons could achieve. He criticised war after his experiences in the trenches but he was no pacifist. He thought that young men would be challenged and become more mature by facing German guns than by consorting to girls of vice. He set up self-help groups for men in thrall to prostitutes and/or drink.

The author is a Christian Socialist but Kennedy was suspicious of the Labour Party, seeing it as copying the rich just as the rich took money from the poor, so it wanted to reverse the process – the poor would take from the rich: We must learn to hate with a bitter lasting hatred the idolatry of wealth... We took it for granted that man was made to make money, that true happiness could be bought... It has spoiled the spirit of our people, weakened our Government, and corrupted our institutions.' Holman sees parallels in New Labour under Blair.

He was a brilliant preacher: One moment he has them in fits of laughter, the next he has hold of their heart-strings, and is drawing those hearts to Christ and all that is good.

He wanted reform of the Prayer Book and lectionary, bishops to live in houses rather than palaces and the abolition of the parsonic voice. He also questioned aspects of the monarchy.
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Less about the Great War than I expected, but certainly worthy of the reveiws I had read. He was indeed an astonishing human being with the author being equally sensitive and honest regards his strenghs and weakness's. My grandfathers death at the Somme 01/07/16 making it all the more relevant.
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In this excellent biography Holman creates a graphic account of an almost forgotten WW1 hero.
Relying on Woodbine Willie's own prose and poetry, previous works of his contemporaries, soldiers, clerics and friends and interviews with previous authors of Studdert Kennedy's life as well as his descendants, Holman has created a very readable and fascinating account of one mans Christian dedication and courage in WW1 and its aftermath.
It is not a book cluttered with details of battles, which the reader needs if needs can find elsewhere, the story is simply about the man, his life and death and his legacy.
A eye opener to the social plight of millions in Britain 100 years ago.
A recommended read for anyone reading around the social history of WW1.
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I gave this book 5 stars because I have waited so long for Woodbine Willie to be given the recognition he deserves and Bob Holman is just the person to do it well.
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The first half or thereabouts of this was just what I expected and wanted, a wonderful account of Stoddart Kennedy and his life particularly in the trenches, the way he communicated, and the good he did; so inspiring. I hadn't realised that he did so much in non combat roles as well, and while I found these fascinating and compelling, they weren't as powerful as his WW1 activities - or am being very unkind? or am I setting his trench activities on such a pedestal that nothing could compare? Probably yes to both, but this is an excellent account of a true spiritual hero.
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Very authoritative, carefully researched and clearly written. It gives a lot of space to what he did after the war, and stresses that Studdert Kennedy could only justify the sacrifices of WWI by working for an acceptable post war society and reformed church.
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A readable survey of a remarkable life.. It is informally written and relies quite heavily on previous biographies but it brings the man to life, and reflects intelligently on his continuing significance. I wonder though if it is right to call him an unsung hero; I would have thought he was already well-known: he is commemorated yearly in the Anglican lectionary..:
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