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Remembered Today:

What WW1 books are you reading?


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Marilyne
On ‎13‎/‎01‎/‎2020 at 17:23, David Spencer said:

Just in case nobody's said it yet: Lice, by Blaise Cendrars is fantastic.

Not sure how much is fact embellished into fiction, but as a snapshot of legionnaire rogues at large in the Gt War, it's a grand read.

 

the original title is more interesting,: "la main coupée" … Cendrars lost his arm in the war and then taught himself to type with his left. It took him quite some time to finish the book.

I read it a looong time ago… it's still somwhere in the still unpacked boxes of books I have at home. A real classic!!

 

Right now I am, to tell yopu the Truth, horribly behind on any "reading-schedule" I could have invented… I was counting on the trip to the US to read a bit, but in between the various photo shoots, the march and the visits … so I'm finishing Jean-Michel Veranneman's "Belgium in the Great War" , then will be working very hard and long hours to put my notes and references in order before starting a new book, because both my desk at home and the one in my little room in Marche look like a bomb exploded in the middle of a stack of post-its … they're everywhere!!!

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Martin Bennitt

Just read an excellent new (pub.last year for the centenary) book on the Amritsar massacre, by Kim Wagner, a history teacher at Queen Mary, University of London. 'Amritsar 1919', subtitled "An Empire of Fear', puts the whole tragedy in context, showing how British policy, notable in the Punjab, was coloured by memories of the so-called Indian Mutiny of 1857 and fears of another uprising. Mutual incomprehension, racist colonial attitudes and the incompetence of senior officials in Amritsar and Lahore completed the ghastly picture.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Cheers Martin B

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Black Maria

I have just finished Arthur Jenkin's memoir 'A Tank Driver's Experiences' , published in 1922 . He joined up in June 1916 and spent some time in the R.Es 

before being sent to the Tank Corps where he took part in the late battles of 1918 before he was badly wounded during the attack on the Hindenburg Line.

He seems to be quite an enigmatic character , this thread gives more details .

 

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Boy Soldiers of the Great War by. Richard van Emden.

 

It's not the fact that so many volunteered or that they were so young but that a lot of these boys were allowed to enlist without any form of age checks being done.

Fascinating read.

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other ranker
7 hours ago, Black Maria said:

I have just finished Arthur Jenkin's memoir 'A Tank Driver's Experiences' , published in 1922 . He joined up in June 1916 and spent some time in the R.Es 

before being sent to the Tank Corps where he took part in the late battles of 1918 before he was badly wounded during the attack on the Hindenburg Line.

He seems to be quite an enigmatic character , this thread gives more details .

 

 

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other ranker

I have just read  'A Company Of Tanks', by Major W. H. L. Watson. DJC reckons its the best tank book. I learned so much from it and must read more...

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Black Maria
1 hour ago, other ranker said:

I have just read  'A Company Of Tanks', by Major W. H. L. Watson. DJC reckons its the best tank book. I learned so much from it and must read more...

I think iv'e got the tank bug as well , my next two books are going to be Haigh's  'Life in a Tank'  and Browne's ' The Tank in Action ' .

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other ranker

I've got a jacketed copy of the Haigh book coming in the post. Haigh is one of the officers in the Watson book.

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Black Maria
18 minutes ago, other ranker said:

I've got a jacketed copy of the Haigh book coming in the post. Haigh is one of the officers in the Watson book.

Maybe i should have read the Watson book again first :wacko: Yes , It's a great jacket !

life in a tank (forum).jpeg

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17 hours ago, other ranker said:

I have just read  'A Company Of Tanks', by Major W. H. L. Watson. DJC reckons its the best tank book. I learned so much from it and must read more...

 

just found it for 99cent on Kindl… "tanks" for the tip

 

M.

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Dust Jacket Collector
17 hours ago, Black Maria said:

I think iv'e got the tank bug as well , my next two books are going to be Haigh's  'Life in a Tank'  and Browne's ' The Tank in Action ' .

Has anyone ever seen a jacket for Browne’s book? It’s certainly a classic.

I’m currently reading Ellen la Motte’s ‘The Backwash of War’ from 1916, written when she was nursing in a French Field Hospital. It’s pretty strong stuff which led to its being banned in the US & not published here until 1919.

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Black Maria
1 hour ago, Dust Jacket Collector said:

Has anyone ever seen a jacket for Browne’s book? It’s certainly a classic.

I’m currently reading Ellen la Motte’s ‘The Backwash of War’ from 1916, written when she was nursing in a French Field Hospital. It’s pretty strong stuff which led to its being banned in the US & not published here until 1919.

I've never seen a copy with it's jacket , another one for the list :)

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KernelPanic
23 hours ago, other ranker said:

I have just read  'A Company Of Tanks', by Major W. H. L. Watson. DJC reckons its the best tank book. I learned so much from it and must read more...

6 hours ago, Marilyne said:

just found it for 99cent on Kindl… "tanks" for the tip

M.

 

Great tip! Thanks.

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I have a copy of John Stafford Gowland's book "War Is Like That".

I bought it from a second-hand bookstall when I was about 12.  I'm now 83 years old. It was very well worn when I bought it. The cost would have just pennies.

It was originally owned by Swansea Circulating Library. Was first taken out on either 3rd or 13th October 1934  (Stamp unclear) 

I've read and re-read many times

 

Over the years my copy has become very 'tatty'.  There are some loose pages, but it is all there.  Over the years it has been lent out to relatives and friends. I suppose it could be re-bound.

 

I also have a copy of Gowland's  "Return To Canada".   Another book I would not let go!  When I had finished my National Service in the RAF, I studied Accountancy and this was the prize I won!. I have to admit that the examining body was not the top of the Accounting body.

 

Bryan Hewer

 

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Black Maria
8 hours ago, bryanh said:

I have a copy of John Stafford Gowland's book "War Is Like That".

I bought it from a second-hand bookstall when I was about 12.  I'm now 83 years old. It was very well worn when I bought it. The cost would have just pennies.

 

 

One of my favourite memoirs as well , his writing style reminded me of that other later classic  'With a machine gun to Cambrai ' . It's a shame it is so rare though , it 

definitely deserves to be reprinted .

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Resurgam13

Just to say that I finally finished "Austro-Hungarian War Aims in the Balkans during World War I" and what a hard slog it was. This is a sample paragraph:

 

Quote

Against the backdrop of Sofia's threat to Kosovo and Albania and the danger of a homogenized Greater Bulgaria, Tisza had a tough time defending his policies against an AOK unwilling to abide by the GMR decision. Whereas Conrad sought to engage the Emperor directly via the MKSM to overturn the GMR decision to limit annexations to Serbia, Tisza worked with Krobatin and more successfully with Burian to isolate the AOK. The MdA's weakening influence forced Burian to side more openly with Tisza, insisting that the MGG/Serbia was merely a placeholder, disallowed from making political decisions on the country's future.

 

On the other hand, it was amazing to see Austria-Hungary still trying to carve up the Balkans as late as 1917/1918 when they were losing on virtually all fronts.

Edited by Resurgam13
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Just finished 'Mannock', by Norman Franks and Andy Saunders, covering the life, combat

history and death of the WW1 'Ace'.  It also sets out the case for a 'known unto god' grave

at Lavantie being his last resting place.

The book has been signed by one of the authors and interestingly carries a dedication to the Battle of Britain pilot Tim Elkington (1920-2019).

 

Mike.

 

 

 

Edited by MikeyH
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On ‎12‎/‎03‎/‎2020 at 00:10, bryanh said:

I have a copy of John Stafford Gowland's book "War Is Like That".

 

 

 

intrigued by that one!

 

M.

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Black Maria
On 15/09/2013 at 18:01, Black Maria said:

Just finished "War is like that" by John Stafford Gowland, published by John Hamilton in 1933. Another rarity and another great memoir,

Gowland was only sixteen when he joined an unnamed Territorial Battalion(London Regt?) and is shipped off to France in November 1914

together with his chums "Tubby", Johnny and Bill, who is an old soldier, having served in the Boer War.

There is a good description of the early days of trench warfare and they go "over the top" to capture a section of the German line.

In early 1915 Bill is killed by a stray bullet and the others join the Royal Engineers hoping for a more cushy time but alas they are

disappointed as they find the work hard and as equally dangerous. There is a very good description of the battle of Neuve Chapelle

where Gowland finds himself involved in hand to hand fighting when he has to help defend a trench from a German counter attack.

Gowland is wounded towards the end of 1915 and returns to the western front at the beginning of 1917 as a R.E signaller, he is at

Passchendaele where he gives a good description of trying to mend the telephone lines under constant shell fire.

He is also involved in the Spring Offensives of 1918 finding himself caught up in all three of the German attacks. He returns home after

the armistice still a young man but haunted by the sights he has witnessed, his mother has died of the Spanish flue and his Fathers hair

has turned white with worry. A very well written and very interesting memoir, the style of which reminded me of "With a machine Gun to Cambrai."

I do not know why it is not better known, maybe because it was published quite late or because it was published by a publisher who was

better known for books about the air war. Hopefully one day it will be reprinted, it certainly deserves to be.

This is what i wrote about it back in 2013 .

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Black Maria

Finished  'Life in a Tank' , not the best tank memoir iv'e read and quite a strange book in some ways, as the author tells most of his account through 

the experiences of another officer called Talbot ( there was an officer of this name in his company ) . Not much about the life in a tank either until near

the end when he again uses the experiences of another officer to tell the reader what it's like to be inside a tank in action . Although he uses the participation

of other officers it's also clear that he is there himself when most of these events are happening . Quite frustrating also that he only gives the first letter of 

locations as the book was published during the war . Having said all that it's not a bad book and is a good accompaniment to 'A Company of Tanks' which

i'm re-reading now.

 

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ilkley remembers

Just finished reading , A P Herbert’s ,‘The Secret Battle’ which was first published in 1919 and is loosely based upon his own experiences in Gallipoli and the Western Front as an officer in the Royal Naval Division. Written in an unrhetorical style it charts the wartime experiences of a courageous but sensitive fellow officer from his initial enthusiasm to his tragic demise. The descriptions trench life and combat are excellent as are the realities of inter officer relations. Don’t think ‘The Secret Battle’ is as well known as it deserves and I certainly found it a riveting read. It is available for free at Archive. Org, I had the new edition from Amazon but the print was astonishingly small and wished that I had bought a decent second hand edition.

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The Scorer

AS you'll have seen from a different thread, I'm reading "Flying Fury: Five Years in the Royal Flying Corps" by James McCudden VC.

 

I'm coming to the end, and I've enjoyed it so far. One thought does occur to me (as it has with other similar books) is that whilst they seemed to have a pretty good social life, it wasn't an easy life when they were flying.

 

There's a lot of books on the list to read after this one, and I haven't made a choice yet!

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Conona-confinement oblige… reading A LOT !!

Disregard my last post about having to clean up my paper-mess: post its have been sorted out, books triaged and I'm on a "two days/book" rythm…

Just reading Vivien Newman's "We also served"... while finding some interesting tidbits of new information here and there, I must admit I'm a bit dissappointed by this one: there's a serious lack of referencing (but then again, this is the scholar talking) and I find the bibliography wanting. One sometimes feels like the chapters were put together in a random sort of way.

So interesting but I'll be a quick read and note…

 

M.

Edited by Marilyne
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On 21/03/2020 at 23:17, ilkley remembers said:

Just finished reading , A P Herbert’s ,‘The Secret Battle’ which was first published in 1919 and is loosely based upon his own experiences in Gallipoli and the Western Front as an officer in the Royal Naval Division. Written in an unrhetorical style it charts the wartime experiences of a courageous but sensitive fellow officer from his initial enthusiasm to his tragic demise. The descriptions trench life and combat are excellent as are the realities of inter officer relations. Don’t think ‘The Secret Battle’ is as well known as it deserves and I certainly found it a riveting read. It is available for free at Archive. Org, I had the new edition from Amazon but the print was astonishingly small and wished that I had bought a decent second hand edition.

 

I agree, Herbert's book is a very good one and deserves a wider audience. I have used his descriptions of his experiences on Gallipoli in some stories I wrote about local soldiers to explain conditions there. There are a few other forum members who like this book.

 

Scott

 

 

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