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on 6 January 2014
Max Plowman gives an erudite and sensitive appreciation of his time as a junior officer in the Great War.

Plowman himself is capable and brave, well-respected by his men and fellow officers. He is acutely aware of how character determines a man's response to the demands of war in the front line, in both officers and men. Character portrayal is a strength of the book.

Top Brass is seen as falling short too often: "...the colonel himself ...never managed (though to give him his due he tried very hard) to reach the trenches". And " At Beauquesne we passed some large country houses that are said to be in use as army headquarters. One could not help admiring the command's taste". Also "For the higher command the war is a great adventure and into it they can and do put tremendous zeal and endless thought. At the same time they have all the excitement of a bigger game than any other"

He is also concerned about the mechanisation of war. "We have endowed machinery with the power once confined to a man's right arm, and now the machine continues to function long after our natural instincts have spent themselves. That is what makes this war so ghastly. It is machine-made."

Plowman became increasingly disillusioned with the conflict. If only the British public knew what was going on, he thought: "...in the words of our battle-hymn, 'They'd never believe it'"

Following recuperation in England from a bomb blast he wrote to his battalion adjutant asking to be relieved of his commission on the grounds of religious conscientious objection to all war. What is not in the book is that he was arrested and tried by court martial for refusing to return to his unit. He was dismissed from the army without punishment.
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on 30 September 2012
Amongst the dozens of WW1 memoirs written by junior infantry officers, this one stands out as being particularly well-written. Max Plowman, who originally wrote the book under the name of "Mark Seven" gives us atmospheric episodes from his six months on the Western Front, and it rings completely true in every respect. My grandfather too was a junior officer on the Somme, and his reminiscences, told to me as a teenager, are in total accord with this fine book.

I read this book in a couple of days, and almost at once became dismayed at how fast it was going by and how near I was to the end. I am about to read it a second time: it is that sort of book.
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on 29 September 2017
Good book
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on 31 May 2017
Very good read
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on 4 June 2014
A very down to earth account of what ordinary men went through. Understated yet factual without self pity, I found it fascinating.
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on 29 September 2014
A man not cut out for war writes with great understanding of the plight of his men and the drudgery of the trenches, still retaining his wry humour and the eloquence of someone well read. Descriptive, though without the full horror of the war.
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on 9 February 2014
found it interesting 'was from officers point of view .of fighting from the
trenches would recommend if you like factual war stories
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on 28 July 2015
deeply moving
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on 16 February 2014
A good read, his first hand experience, brings the First World War as seen through the eyes of a Subaltern to life
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on 7 March 2014
Fascinating first hand account of the unassuming way in which totally ordinary and yet so obviously heroic soldiers experienced the Great War.
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