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Gareth Davies

Cornerstones

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Gareth Davies

Cornerstones is another offering from the very excellent Helion https://www.helion.co.uk/review/product/list/id/24036/category/502/ and tells the story of Mynors Farmar. It is based on his letters home and his personal accounts. It is incredibly well researched.  

 

Harold Mynors Farmar was a professional soldier in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He fought in Sudan and South Africa pre-Great War. By 1915 he was the Staff Capt of the 86th Bde and he landed just after his old Bn did in April 1915. Later he served on Monash's staff at the same time that his elder brother was doing the very same role albeit it only level up in the Canadian Corps.

 

Recent reviews have included the following praise:

 

"Based on the private letters and papers of the author’s great-grandfather, this book is far more than just a family history. This is a meticulously researched and highly readable account of an engaging, intelligent and resourceful British staff officer caught up in the global wars of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries: from Omdurman to the Western Front. The index alone, detailing Farmar’s acquaintances, reads like ‘Who’s Who’; pointing to fascinating anecdotal evidence of some very well-known historical characters."

 

"The author is to be congratulated on producing a detailed survey of strategy, tactics and human tragedy."

 

"Cornerstones is a refreshingly vivid and rounded biographical account of an officer who served with distinction in the First World War. The context of Harold Farmar’s career, from the Victorian colonial wars through to the Great War was absorbing, though for me the account of his service during the Great War proved the highlight of the book."

 

I strongly recommend the whole book. In particular the section on Gallipoli is of note as it brings a new assessment of what was going on that morning.  

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Steven Broomfield

Sounds interesting. I confess Gallipoli is not on my usual reading list but I might look this one out: the old pre-war Army fascinates me so seeing how a Regular officer copes with and reacts to the chaos of Gallipoli, followed by the - shall we say - more flexible approach of the Australians sounds interesting.

 

Thanks for highlighting this. I find Helion productions appear so thick and fast that I can't keep up!

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Dragon

I think anyone who has discovered a bundle of letters, notes and documents saved by an ancestor will relate to the excitement of discovery and an emerging narrative. I admire the author for having the persistence to turn her quest, and her great grandfather's efforts, into a book. It sounds as if it would have widespread appeal to people interested in a range of themes, who, as they read on, would gain insights into the thinking and reflections of an experienced and perspicacious participant. I can't say that I know much about Gallipoli, and I know even less about Omdurman, but if a book is lucidly written I could be persuaded to give it a try.

 

Gwyn

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