Forgotten Voices of the Great War

Forgotten Voices of the Great War - Max Arthur, Imperial War Museum

Unless you are a hard core WWI military history buff or in need of primary sources to add to an academic paper, skip this. I liked the first chapter and the opening paragraphs of each chapter where Max Arthur gives the reader a path to the events in each chapter before turning the narrative to those that survived the war. There are four chapters, one for each year of the war - however that is where the organization of the book ends and chaos reigns. There aren't many headers, just for the ones that indicate a major battle is being talked about, but no signal to show the narratives for that particular battle has ended and a new topic is started. So when the narratives turn from one battle memory to another battle memory then all of a sudden the men are talking about venereal disease and how one guy's penis was all gangrene and disintegrating from VD he got from the many French prostitutes he paid for - it was jarring and interrupting the flow of reading. Then there is lots of talk of how boring it is sitting in a trench, trying to burn the lice off their uniforms; there is also a lot of talk about food rations - so much bully beef was mentioned.

 

The one part I really enjoyed was the section on the Christmas Truce of 1914. Otherwise it was a slog to get through.