1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sapper Martin: The Secret Great War Diary of Jack Martin (Diary)
I'm turning into something of a Richard van Emden fan though, in truth, I've read very little of his writing. Why? Well, he specialises in WWI eyewitness accounts; as far as I can see, to the extent of not having published anything else. He is wise enough to let his sources talk, so in his books he acts more as an editor than as an author.
This 'un is a prime example of that and, were I feeling unkind, I should say that van Emden can take very little credit - Jack Martin really could write! The author has sympathetically reduced the original diaries by about a third, mostly removing repetition, so he says. What's left is sublime. You can compliment it on all levels. In & of itself, it is beautifully written. It's from a Royal Engineer, & I've seen precious little over the years from that branch of the service. It's from a ranker, rather than an officer. It is, by turns, funny, poignant, pointed, even painted (when Sapper Martin waxes lyrical, his words are worth a picture or two). It is always lucid & hugely readable. I said of van Emden's Soldier's War "If you're only going to buy one book of the soliders' own testimony as to their experiences of WWI, it should, without any doubt, be this one." I've changed my mind. Buy this one instead. It's even better!