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on 3 August 2015
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on 17 July 2015
good read
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on 8 March 2017
spot on
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on 10 April 2017
Extremely interesting!
If I only read one book on W W 1 it would be this.
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on 16 March 2017
This book covers the almost daily recollections of officers and men who served with a typical infantry battalion during the Great War. It makes no pretense to discuss grand strategy or the overall conduct of the war (beyond some interesting observations and Lloyd George and senior Generals) and covers the mundane, the exciting, the dangerous and outright funny moments of serving on the Western Front.

Whilst there were sections that were hard to follow which contributor was 'talking' and the seemingly random insertion of dates occasionally made little sense, these are the only criticism of such an interesting book. Such was the nature of the recollections, you could almost imagine them discussing them over a few drinks at a regimental reunion. J. C. Dunn did a sterling job of collecting all the stories and memories and combining them into a - mostly - coherent narrative.

Due to the books nature, it is different to the multi-contributor nature such as the IWM Book of the Somme or the Western Front or the works by Lyn McDonald and Martin Middlebrook. In the same way, it is also different to a 'standard' regimental history as it is written by men who served, in the main, with the same unit. For this it works in the books favour, providing opinions and recollections often based on diaries or letters and memories written soon after the events. The introduction was also illuminating as it described the work Dunn had to undertake to create the work and it 'fleshed out' some of the main contributors.

I would certainly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the British Army during the First World War.
One person found this helpful
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on 25 December 2003
For all the thousands of pages that have been written about the Great War, there are few better than this book. It is a poignant, funny, heart warming and upsetting book all rolled into one. From first hand accounts of day to day life in the trenches, to moving stories of heroism and comradeship behind the lines, I have yet to read a book on World War One that combines so much atmospheric description with factual accounts and still leaves the reader craving for more. There are incidents that are funny, there are incidents that are sad, and it is the combination of light hearted recollection, mixed with painful descriptions of trench life and death that make this book a work of genius.
If you only have one book that describes daily life in the trenches, combined with witty humour and perceptual observations then you cannot do better than this one.
20 people found this helpful
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on 16 March 2007
This must be amongst the very best books to emerge from 1914-1918. What it has that many memoirs do not is a certain objective detachment, where it is needed, and an ability to bring together a number of first hand sources and accounts to create a rounded picture. You get to know something about context - and still get a stiking impression of 'what it was like'. Sassoon, Graves, Richards etc are all vivid and wonderful to read, and would all be recommended: but for the most part they lack this valuable three dimensionality. Conversely 'straight' regimental histories can get very dry - 'The War the Infantry Knew' manages to get the best of both worlds. Highly recommended, and great value.
9 people found this helpful
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on 1 August 2003
There are many books documenting the First World War. This book details the progress of a single battalion of the Royal Welch Fuseliers. And what a progress.....
If you ever wondered what your great grandad got up to between 1914 to 1918 this book is as good as it gets. The retreat from Mons, the battle of 1915, the action on the Somme in '16 followed by 3rd Ypres in '17. Then into 1918 - the retreat then the big push to November.
The book is written by one of the "old school". His feelings towards the New Army in 1916 are barely disguised. It follows the Battalion from mobilization in 1914 through to 1919 - almost on a day by day basis.
If you want a feel for what a batallion did on a daily basis througout the war this is the book for you.
2 people found this helpful
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on 7 October 2009
When I read this book, what struck me most was how far removed my own 21st century attitudes towards life, death, service, etc, were from those of the author. Not only is this book a wonderful account of day to day life in the trenches, it's probably the only book I've ever read that has given me insight into why the war was fought, and more importantly, how it continued to be fought for 4 years, despite the incredible level of casualties, death, and social dislocation. Unlike a lot of modern books on WW1, in this book you are hearing the genuine voices of the people who fought it...as they saw it AT THE TIME. I can't recommend this book highly enough to any student of warfare, and WW1 in particular.
10 people found this helpful
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on 7 January 2010
This book was recommended to me by a friend with a similar interest in WW1, we are not experts!

I have read very few books in my life from cover to cover but this book is absolutely enthrawling. It gives a fascinating insight into the life of officers and other ranks in and out of the trenches during WW1, during advances and retreats, time spent at the front and whilst in reserve it paints a picture like no other I have read on the subject, written by a man who wished to take no credit for his actions.

This book is an absolute must for anyone interested in WW1.
8 people found this helpful
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