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  • Published: 4 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143775126
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $32.99

Into the Unknown

The Secret WWI Diary of Kiwi Alick Trafford No. 25/469




World War I (and its aftermath) in the words of a young soldier fresh off a remote New Zealand farm, written with immediacy, emotion and clarity.

A personal account of WWI from the diaries of a Gisborne farm boy, shaped into a gripping narrative by the diarist’s grandson 100 years later. Follow Alick as he moves from his last night on the farm in early 1916, through enshipment and training, then off to the battle fields of France and Belgium, occupied Germany and back home. His treasured diaries covered the tedium, the mud, the fear and sorrow, the discomfort, the periods of leave and the letters from those back home. See the war unfold through Alick’s eyes and learn about his and his companions' attitudes to the army, to female company, to the enemy soldiers, to the hospitality provided by people under pressure, to the war itself. And after the drama and tragedy of war, comes the return home and the efforts required to make a living while remaining steadfastly silent about the traumas of those terrible years - an unseen fight that continued and affected the generations that followed.

  • Published: 4 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143775126
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Ian Trafford

Ian Trafford can be found thinking in the vege patch, writing while slumped on the couch, or at the beaches and in the bush of his local Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand - taking time out, working with his camera or guiding hiking tourists.

During his childhood on a farm near Te Karaka, west of Gisborne, his father came home one day with his grandfather’s secret First World War diaries. Ian soon knew that some day the real, raw story of our Kiwi boys in this un-great war, and afterwards, needed to be told.

The time to write came decades later, once other work was done: teaching, guiding river rafters and sea kayakers, writing school reading books and a guidebook, full-time photography, and in times of desperation, pulling apples from the trees of orchardists or stuffing hops into a shredder.

The story from the diaries was written on the couch, with lots of emotion, as if his old grandad, Alick, was sitting there as well.

Praise for Into the Unknown

This is a historical gem of a book... The stories and adventures are exciting, fraught with danger and vividly written. Thank you Alick for writing your secret diaries. Thank you Harvey for not following your father's wishes and for saving these diaries. Thank you Ian for publishing them so Alick's story can be shared.

Gisborne Herald

...a war diary which ranks among the best. The even balance between the horrors of the trenches and the sheer happiness of leave makes an enjoyable narrative which leaves the reader saddened, but not overwhelmed, by the carnage of the Western Front and uplifted by the warmth of the stories about kindness and sympathy which emerge from the journeys away from the battlefield...Trafford was a fine observer of men and situations...

Jim Sullivan, Otago Daily Times

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