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on 14 September 2014
I felt I was right in the trenches with this book. It was harrowing at times but what a great read this is. It made World War 1 very real to me and I appreciate what those soldiers went through, especially as my grandfather was sent home after losing an arm. He never ever spoke about his time in the war and now I can appreciate why. Hope for some more after Odile's Story.
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on 18 December 2013
This is a really interesting account of the Great War told in a first person narrative by what would have a been a young character. The depth of research shines through, with graphic details of the battle scenes, which are kept short enough not to feel like a history textbook. Having said that I can see how this could be used by schools who are teaching the Great War to adolescents. It should disabuse the gaming generation of any notions that war is just heroes and villains, especially as the hero here feels empathy and revulsion at having to kill and has very mixed emotions as he gets more battle hardened. The love story element is a bit of a teaser and although I have yet to completely finish it is not the most convincing aspect. Having said that it does add a more personal touch to the hero.
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on 25 September 2015
Chris Cherry's masterpiece "The Mad Game" is the best book I have read in a long time. The attention to detail shows an extraordinary skill in researching the story. Having been a History teacher who took students to visit the First World War battlefields and this having made such an impression (on me and the students), I felt that I was there along side William Collins. I have visited many of the places mentioned in the book and those vivd memories came flooding back. Most people know of the horrors of this war but the painfully true depiction of the life and death struggles is both graphic and necessarily realistic. I cannot get the book out of my mind. The love story that is the thread never overpowers the narrative but binds William's progress through the war. TEN stars.
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on 5 February 2014
This is a must buy for anyone interested in The Great War.
It is truly a beautifully written story about William and how an innocent young lad experiences the horrors of war on the front line. It is also a touching love story about when he first set eyes on his first love, a french girl called Odile. The power of his love for her keeps him sane amongst the revulsion of having to kill someone, and to witness the death of his fellow friends.
The author has researched the events of the war meticulously, and he must be so proud of his work. If I could give him a 6 star rating I would. Well done, I am looking forward to reading "The Mad game Christmas 1913".
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VINE VOICEon 7 January 2017
A few years ago when the 100 year anniversaries of World War One began there was a flood of novels in commemoration and this was one of them. It stayed on my recommended list for a while as I was becoming slightly immune to the horrors, which is an uncomfortable feeling, and didn't want to read yet another "account of the war" at that stage.
A couple of years have passed and I thought the timing was right to pick this book up again. The story is about William, who has visited France before the war and fallen in love with a French girl. When war breaks out he is in England but desperate to get back to fight and save Odile's country (and her). William is an engineer and is sent into the trenches as part of a problem solving group who work initially on reducing damage from gas attacks then get involved with tunneling and mining
We hear the story from William in the first person and he talks very openly, both emotionally and practically. The narrative reads very much as a diary would although it is presented as standard chapters. Maybe a diary structure would have worked better for this story??
The horrors of a war are always best shown through the eyes of an individual so that the reader can personalise what is going on and really try to understand what it was like to be there. This author is very good at that and you can't help but understand William's difficulties. Trench warfare has been researched very thoroughly and the author is keen to communicate this so he goes into detail.
The book is insightful and the research comes across on every page, however the attempt to combine the fact with a fictional love story doesn't work for me. It might be a good educational research as it is more personal than a factual account but it goes to far into the technical detail whilst sacrificing the characterisation. You can see the passion that the author has for telling his readers about the horror of the war but I think there is an inexperience in fiction writing which is very clear.
I admire what the author has tried to do but I don't think he does it very well. There are many books around that do this much better.
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on 21 February 2014
I bought The Mad Game for my kindle...I am half way through it and I am finding it very hard to put down...The details of daily life in the trenches is very graphic and certainly brings what it was like during WW1 for the every day Tommy alive...I can't imagine what it must have been really like. I lost 3 Great uncles during WW1 to the Battle of the Somme...Arthur 16, William, 18 and George 25. George and William came home but died from their injuries one of them being gassed...sadly Arthur has no known grave...I am reading William's story in memory of my Great Uncles xx
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on 7 December 2013
The Mad Game is a wonderfully written account of life in the trenches. Graphic, descriptive, evocative and an emotional journey for the reader. The account of the battle is incredibly vivid, putting the reader in the centre of the battles. i did not know the War was like that, and i am all the more thankful for the sacrifice. I would not just recommend this book,i would urge everyone to read it. The characters are beautifully conceived, clearly researched and i fell a little bit in love with William. A book for men and women. Thank you for the story.
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on 20 November 2014
I loved this story and just couldn't put it down until I had reached the last page. So much is known about the facts of the First World War but we are only just getting to know about the people and their emotional and physical challenges. The characters are authentic and you are carried through their experiences with an empathy that pushes you through to the end. It is clear that the author knows his stuff and the reader is left feeling as if they know a little bit more of what faced our brave soldiers during this terrible war.
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on 15 February 2014
Just finished reading this book.It is one of the best reads I have read on the First World War. The details are very realisitc.I know you wouldnt wish to be there but whilst reading it I actually felt I was plus imagining how the soldiers must have felt etc. Looking forward to book number two coming out.Well worth a read even if you are not into the Great War.You will enjoy it.
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on 23 February 2014
compelling ,heart felt story, well written , I bought the book as a tribute to my great ,great uncle killed at the Somme in 1917, the author very kindly did a tribute to my great great uncle for me in the book, I could never imagine what he went through , now I have an in site of what he did suffer in the Somme, thank you for this moving book ,a must to read for anyone
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