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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars


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on 29 September 2013
Early in 1916 two officers found an abandoned printing press just behind the lines in Ypres. With the help of a sergeant who had been a printer in civilian life, they launched a newspaper known as the Wipers Times. Over the next two-and-a-half years, twenty-three issues were produced, and facsimiles of these are collected in this excellent book. Some of the humour has dated, and many of the in-jokes leave the modern reader scratching his head; but much of it is timeless, and it is easy to see how it would have been appreciated at the time. The central (and wonderfully British) message being, "War isn't funny; but lets laugh at it anyway."

Whilst the Wipers Times itself is excellent, however, I would have appreciated a more extensive introduction. According to the paper itself, the print run was very small - at least initially (the editorial for the fourth issue speaks of increasing the run from 100 to 250 copies); so how did its fame spread quite so far? I would also have liked more information on some of the contributors (from other sources, I learn that the playwright R C Sherriff offered contributions, but if so they were anonymous); what the attitude of the powers-that-be was (since both the editor and the assistant editor were promoted twice between the paper's launch and the end of the war, and collected three decorations between them, the reaction must have been largely positive, but I think it would have warranted a mention); what if anything Hillaire Belloc thought about being sent up; and whether observers of other nations thought our leaders wise or mad to let such a publication flourish. An introduction that covered these questions would have involved a bit of work, but it would have been worth it in my opinion.
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on 30 March 2015
A great little book, It records the kind of humour and resilience we Brits seem to be known for, when in extreme adversity. How soldiers living in the front line trenches, surrounded by the filth and death, for weeks at a time, could come up with a regular and amusing, news-paper make my mind boggle somewhat. Reading it the first time, with all its limitations, made me proud to be of the same nation as the producers and contributors of this the '1st war trenches newspaper'.
This is a worthy, if modest addition to the bookshelf of anyone with a real interest in the First World War, providing some of the human interest and a realisation of what the writers and all our men went through and how they coped with the horrors of trench warfare.
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on 3 November 2013
really lovely to read copies of actual papers read by the british troops 1914/18 even amongst the filth /gas/trench foot etc the british sense of humour shone through these men are real heroes
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on 14 November 2013
An odd look first world war history and a good copy of all the issues of the wipers times (the first world war trench newspaper). My one issue with this book is that I needed to have another book to tell me what was going on at the time to get all the jokes. In my case I was reading online newspaper archives while reading the book. Don't expect it to all be funny or for you to get all the references.
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on 15 October 2013
A wonderful find. How on earth can there be that much sardonic wit, sad poetry and satire amongst the "Whizz-Bangs" .

As the French say - "chapeau".

Eric Prince
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on 8 February 2014
The tv production based on the book was excellent, if I had read the book first I am sure I would have found it a lot more enjoyable. Have to remember it is clips from a numerous newspaper rather than the story of the men who produced it. The content reflects the so called 'Britsh sense of humour' when in dire situations. Recommended.
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on 20 November 2013
Both hilarious and yet sad at times when one remembered the circumstances under which this newspaper was produced. Bought it for a Christmas present for someone I know will love it, but have kept it for myself! Couldn't bear to part with it. Shall have to purchase another one now for a present!
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on 16 May 2014
Very much appreciate the humour of the British tommy in the terrible circumstances they found themselves in during WW1. The stoical spirit of the troops in the terrible conditions in which they worked, lived and fought is something to be admired the whole world over.
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on 29 October 2013
I watched the televised drama which gave a good account of how the contents were put together. An absolute gem of a book which should be read by everyone interested in that particular era.
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on 6 November 2013
read about his in the 'Daily Telegraph, and very interested in modern history , particular;ly the social aND ECONOMIC HISTORY OF THE 20TH CENTURY. JUST SKIMMED THROUGH IT TODAY, AS IT HAS ONLY JUST ARRIVED, BUT THEN I ONLY ORDERED IT WELL WITHIN THE PAST 24 HOURS - EXCELLENT SERVICE.
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