Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Alecras234

Reading problems

Recommended Posts

Alecras234

Hi my name is Ash I'm 41 from North Wales.   I have suffered head injury due to a Road Traffic Accident.   Anyway,   I'm interested in learning about WW1.    I'm reading a book at the moment called 1914, Days of Hope by Lyn Macdonald and I'm struggling with it.    The book goes from the history which is interspersed with real life events.  I find it so confusing, ione minute I'm enjoying the voyage of the BEF to Bolougne and their reception to different stories which has different wording.   Should I carry on with the book eventhough it throws me and confuses me?  Do you know of any other good books on Ww1 please?

Edited by Alecras234

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kenf48

Hi Ash and welcome to the forum

 

The book that inspired a lifelong interest, that waxes and wanes depending what else I'm doing was 'Goodbye to All That' by Robert Graves who served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. I'm not blind to its faults but just a personal choice.  Lyn Macdonald's books are interesting she was a radio producer who set out to capture the memories of surviving veterans and along with Martin Middlebrook blazed a trail most recently picked up by Richard van Emden and his series of books on many WW1 topics.  All I would say is that if you are finding it difficult it's not worth persevering as there are many alternatives. 

 

If you do have problems reading  try and get hold of the 'Charley's War'  comic books https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charleys-War-Vol-June-August/dp/1840236272

Ok they play a bit fast and loose with history but then so did Graves,it doesn't matter once something sparks an interest you will want to dig deeper.  There is loads of information on the web and a very good place to start is the parent site, The Long Long Trail where information is served in bite size chunks (link top right).

 

My advice would be to find something that interests you, WW1 was as far as Britain was concerned the first 'people's war' and we all have some connection in our past. I wouldn't start with the chronology of the war that could come later as your interest develops. Look at war memorials in your area, who were these men? How did they die? What was happening where you live?  Were there factories, or farmers, coal miners or conscientious objectors?  My family were South Wales coal miners half joined up, my grandfather went to Gallipoli so I have an interest in that campaign, half remained at home so I have an interest in the miners in the war.

 

I'm sure others will be along with their suggestions but in the meantime by joining the forum you're sure to find something that interests you.

 

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alecras234

Hi im reading a sample of Goodbye to all that, on amazon,  it sounds good but it's about his early life, im reading chapters 1 and 2, when does it go into the build up to war in Europe?  I have been refunded for lyn macdonalds book .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maureene

Perhaps some fiction set on the Western Front may appeal.

For example, sketches by Boyd Cable were very popular, were considered realistic,  and are available online for free, see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Western Front, section Historical books online/Fiction

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Western_Front#Fiction

 

Cheers

Maureen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
seaJane

You might like Bruce Bairnsfather's 'Bullets and Billets'. It's a fairly light-hearted memoir illustrated by him and second-hand copies are available at a reasonable price (don't go for the copies with an inflated value!). He was the artist of the 'Fragments from France' cartoons.

 

The book that hooked me into the war was 'In Flanders Fields: the 1917 campaign' which has its faults (in that it perpetuates some unattributable anecdotes, for example), but is a gripping read.

 

If you're worried about the cost of books or the bother of getting a refund, it might be worth going to the nearest public library and asking to be shown their WW1 section.

 

Best wishes,

 

seaJane

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maureene

The books mentioned by seaJane are also available online for free on the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Western Front mentioned in the link above, but in different sections. Scroll up the page, or

 

Books by Bruce Bairnsfather are in the section "Infantry and others"

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Western_Front#Infantry_and_others

 

and  In Flanders Fields: the 1917 Campaign by Leon Wolff is in the section "Official Histories and Battles"

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Western_Front#Official_Histories_and_Battles

 

Cheers

Maureen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alecras234

thanks for your suggestions but i don't know which book to read.   I have read a sample of Goodbye to all that by Robert Graves but the first few chapters of the sample only gives information about his early life not the war.    I want a book that leads the reader to the outbreak of war.   I've looked at Margeret Macmillan's book, war that ended peace and The Sleepwalkers, how europe went to war in 1914 by Christopher clarke.   I didn't get on with those books as they were too long, very detailed and long chapters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
seaJane

For the beginning of the war Barbara Tuchman's 'The Guns of August' may fit the bill, depending on whether you like her style. I think Amazon will let you download a Kindle sample.

 

sJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alecras234

I've downloaded the guns of august sample, why does it start with a funeral?   Also is the book Goodbye to all that good, does it get into the build up of war?   Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnboy

Since my stroke I find my concentration levels have gone down. I now find that if I start reading a book which I find of little interest I put it down.

You could try Archive. org. They have many old books on the great War. All downloadable, free. Kindle have a selection as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alecras234

I started reading, 1914, days of hope, by Lyn Macdonald,  and i struggled here and there.   It was when she went into detail and the wording she uses as appbose to a story such as, the army sailed to Bolougne and were welcomed by crowds.   I looked at the book called Roses of no mans land, by Lyn Macdonald.  i'm reading the sample on amazon and i understand this book better so far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michelle Young

Roses was the book which got me into the war. Covenant with Death by John Harris is a fictional account of the Sheffield City battalion, one I couldn't put down until I'd read it. Martin Middlebrook First  Day on the Somme might be worth a go. 

 

Michelle 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Filsell

Michelle

Three excellent choices for Alecras 234.

I think most of us, at whatever age we started taking an interest in the Great War found much to confuse us. I still do at tiimes. These books  offer a great way to get started I think.

regards

David

Edited by David Filsell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alecras234

I Have come across  this and i lose my way in the story,    

The colonel had been given a lead as to what was expected, in the form of a smacking, hairy embrace administered by the mayor, but, to the ill-concealed derision of the battalion drawn up behind them on the village square, the officers received the bouquets presented to them by a bevy of expectant village girls with salutes which were uncompromisingly military.

The manifestation of mutual esteem was only temporarily interrupted by the troops being marched off to billets in the barns and outhouses of local farms. The fact that the local estaminet was put out of bounds was of small consequence, because in the haste of mobilization and departure there had been no time to hold pay-parades, and aggrieved reminders to the officers failed to elicit any response in the way of hard cash.

 

What do i do when situations like this come up and i don't understand what's going on because of the grammar she uses? 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
seaJane
On 19/09/2019 at 12:41, Alecras234 said:

guns of august sample, why does it start with a funeral

My opinion is that it starts with the funeral of King Edward VII (1910) because it was one of the last European royal occasions when kings of various countries were in the same place and at peace with each other. George V, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas II were all grandchildren of Queen Victoria (so were the monarchs of Denmark, Greece, Norway, Romania and Spain).

 

So it shows the change from unity to war.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dragon

Hello Ash

 

Can you read Welsh? If you can, do you find it easier to read Welsh rather than English?

 

Some members of the forum have Welsh as their first language. If you wanted to, you can post your question in Welsh, with a Welsh header and an English translation of the header. Perhaps someone will be able to suggest books written in Welsh.

 

If you say (in English) that you have already posted in English and your post was called 'Reading problems', no-one will mind.

 

Gwyn

Edited by Dragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alecras234

I can speak welsh but I can't read it.  No im just having problems where i'm following the story in my mind when suddenly my mind goes blank and i don't understand the sudden change of grammar Lyn Macdonald uses here and there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dragon

I didn't find 'Roses' a particularly engaging read, but then I'm not into medical matters. I found that some of her other books kept my attention better. I have lent 'Somme' to several people, who liked it.

 

I know that some people don't like her method, and she doesn't always triangulate what the men tell her. But if you're just getting into the subject, I don't think that particularly matters.

 

If you're happy to read about the French experience of the war, I can think of two books which are straightforward reads. One is 'Fear', by Gabriel Chevallier. The other is 'Poilu', by Louis Barthas. These have been translated into English.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alecras234

can you give me a list of books to try please? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnboy

Would it be easier for you to concentrate on something you have a strong interest in. Do you have any relatives that might have fought in WW1?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dragon
On ‎20‎/‎09‎/‎2019 at 17:06, Alecras234 said:

,,, im just having problems where i'm following the story in my mind when suddenly my mind goes blank and i don't understand the sudden change of grammar Lyn Macdonald uses here and there.

 

I can understand a little about that feeling, because when I was seriously ill in 1997, I was extremely confused and I was left with memory problems. Sometimes I couldn't remember basic things about my past life. I would lose track in the middle of reading something. By the time I got to the end of a sentence, I couldn't remember how  it had started. I am much better now.

 

I wonder whether it would help you if people could recommend books which have been made into films or documentaries.

 

Would you find it easy to follow a book if it were spoken? Perhaps Amazon's Audio Books, or Books with Narration, (using a Kindle) might help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maureene

Perhaps a magazine format would be easier to follow?

 

The following books contain articles which were originally  published in the weekly magazine The War Illustrated, published from August 1914, and are available online for free. To access, click on the links. As the name suggests there are many illustrations.

 

The War illustrated Album de Luxe: The Story of the Great European War told by Camera, Pen and Pencil edited by J A Hammerton, published 1915-1919 Archive.org.

 Vol.1 The First Phase;     Vol.2 The Winter Campaign 1914-1915;     Vol.3 The Spring Campaign-1915;    Vol.4 The Summer Campaign -1915;   Vol.5 The Second Winter Campaign -1915-1916;   Vol.6 The Spring and Summer Campaign of 1916;    Vol.7 The Autumn Campaign of 1916;   Vol.8 Ending the First Three Years;     Vol.9 The Fourth Year, 1917-18;     Vol.10 The Last Phase

 

In addition,  collections of soldiers' stories  generally use simpler language. The following are available online for free, To access, click on the links.

Soldiers' Stories of the War edited by Walter Wood 1915 Archive.org 

In the Line of Battle: Soldiers' Stories of the War edited by Walter Wood 1916 Archive.org

 

Cheers

Maureen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...