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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
27
4.7 out of 5 stars


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on 8 March 2017
More of a potted history than simple dictionary.
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on 3 March 2017
Excellent condition and fantastic reading
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on 2 June 2017
Perfect gift
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on 21 October 2012
During the next couple of years, as we approach the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, it's likely that there will be a flurry of general books and scholarly volumes on the conflict.

Trench Talk is excellent as it will appeal to both scholars and enthusiasts alike as it combines the rigour of research with a range and close observation to appeal to all sorts of readers. In Trench Talk a military historian and a social linguist examine and reflect on how the language of the time reveals the experience of the war. Both authors are clearly fascinated by words and objects and have a shared stake in the story through their family histories.

The book is wide-ranging and the developments and changes in word usage by various parties (soldiers, newspapers, politicians, writers, diarists) are traced. Crucially the authors do not treat the period as a single point in time. Words come into and go out of use, and fascinating observations such as the changes in use of upper case for the beginnings of words, and inverted commas, show the gradual wider acceptance of and familiarity with terms.

Perhaps most interesting is the way words moved between languages, creating hybrids - English to Arabic to English, German to English, French to German - the mistranslations, and the extraordinary playing with language across No Man's Land. The authors assume no specialist knowledge from the reader in this. Instances of the differences in colloquial English over the following century are laid out, as are the paths of technical terms from Dutch, German or Italian.

With the government and the EC making a big thing of the potential of the centenary for examining identities and cementing fellowship respectively, Trench Talk's discussions of the commonality of experience expressed through language should appeal to both sets of policy-makers. A stock-text for those interested in language and the history of the war (novelist and screen-writers working on the period would really find this valuable), and a pointer for new scholarship of the subject.

At the core of Doyle and Walker's exploration is the poignant space of the unspeakable that this myriad of words circulates around, and how that silence was defined.
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on 24 October 2012
This is a great book. Rather than being a sort of dictionary, the words are grouped into themes, so there is a meaningful framework. And each word is discussed, along with variations and quotations that come from a whole range of sources. Excellent for anyone interested in language, social and military history, and the first World War.
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on 29 October 2012
I just went through this saying so that's where that came from. It's amazing how many common phrases came into general use because of the First World War. A really intelligent and engaging read, where the quotes are allowed to tell much of the story. It's not so much the writers telling you things as the way they organise what they know so you feel you're involved, and almost hearing/seeing things at first hand. It's also very well put together so you get a sense of the soldiers' humour alongside the horror of war, for soldiers, survivors and the people at home. I'll feel a bit closer to what my ancestors lived through after reading this; literally; they're quoted in it.
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on 9 October 2013
Knowing only that taught at school of World WAR1. It was basically dates and places. I found it a very dry period in my learning. This book takes you there with the boys that fought in the lines and behind.
There is no glorification of war, but humour shines out from the men. I guess this was the only way to remain sane during an insane period. I laughed, shed silent tears, gave an inward prayer of thanks for the acts of these men for those that came after. (you and me). Unreservedly I encourage all to read this book. I am now going on to the "Wipers Times" , for my next dose of undiluted history.
Thank you Peter Doyle for giving me an understanding and empathy with and for , the boys.
The words and saying that has passed down into everyday language had me amazed. Didn't realise that half the phrases were "born" then. Don't take my word for it. Read this book as your next choice.
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on 23 October 2012
Amazed that so much scholarly information could be presented in such a simple way. Doyle and Walker must be the authorities on this aspect of the First World War. There's a strong mix of enthusiasm, detail and poignancy that you don't often come across. Great reading. Can you do one on the Second World War in time for Christmas?
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on 10 January 2013
Ignore the 3 star review, this is a very good book and it won't disappoint the reader . I recommend it to both the First World War buffs and to those who are taking an interest in the subject for the very first time.
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2012
A complex book, woven with anecdotes as well as data, how the English, French and German languages were influenced by the first industrial war.

Highly recommended
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