A landmark book using unique Imperial War Museum archive material, in which the story of WWI is told in the words of the men who were there.
In 1960, the Imperial War Museum began a momentous and important task. A team of academics, archivists and volunteers set about tracing WWI veterans and interviewing them at length in order to record the experiences of ordinary individuals in war. The IWM aural archive has become the most important archive of its kind in the world. Authors have occasionally been granted access to the vaults, but digesting the thousands of hours of footage is a monumental task. (There are over 2,500 interviews, some as long as 20 hours long). As a result, those seeking first person quotations for their works have only used a tiny fraction of the available pre-transcribed material. Now, forty years on, the Imperial War Museum has at last given author Max Arthur and his team of researchers unlimited access to the complete WWI tapes. These are the forgotten voices of an entire generation of survivors of the Great War. Their stories have rested unheard for almost half a century, and nearly all of those interviewed have since passed away. The resulting book is an important, unique and compelling story of WWI in the words of those who experienced it. Destined to become one of the non-fiction reads of 2002 and a classic for years to come.
“This extraordinary book is crammed with details, conjuring up the atmosphere of war as vividly as the frequent descriptions of appalling violence”
“The words of the soldiers are as fresh as if they were written yesterday...extraordinary”
Deborah Moggach, Mail on Sunday
“The stories of these now long-dead vets simply jump off the page”
“Everyone who loves oral history will enjoy the often harrowing accounts contained in this book”
“A compelling account of a world not to be forgotten”