And all the while, never a sound of firing, never a sight of the red and blue of the French uniforms. The war might have been two hundred miles away!
Meanwhile Tommy on his marches was discovering things. Wonder of wonders, this curious people called "baccy" tabac! "And if yer wants a bit of bread yer awsks for pain, strewth!" He loved to hear the French gabble to him in their excited way; he never thought that reciprocally his talk was just as funny. The French matches earned unprintable names. But on the whole he admired sunny France with its squares of golden corn and vegetables, and when he passed a painted Crucifix with its cluster of flowering graves, he would say: "Golly, Bill, ain't it pretty? We oughter 'ave them at 'ome, yer know." And of course he kept on saying what he was going to do with "Kayser Bill."
One night after the evening meal, the men of the Company gave a little concert outside the mill. The flower-scented twilight was fragrantly beautiful, and the mill stre
A good read about the life of a soldier early in the war.
The ending was good and this is a book that makes you think.
I really enjoyed this book about a soldiers experiences in world war one. It's written early in the war and you can already see certain themes appearing - the exhaustion and inertia of the forces, the gulf between the officers and the men and the terrifying power of modern weapons. If you are interested in what the early war was really like I think you'll find this honest and undramatic account very readable but I have to warn you there are page after page of account of long marches which take a while to get used to.
When the armies do clash the descriptions of the battles are surprisingly short but very well written. At first I was somewhat put off by these short reports of battle hidden in pages about food, sleep and marching but after a while I came to appreciate that the book is written exactly as the author remembers events and many of these early skirmishes are explosions of sudden shocking violence in between long periods of more mundane life. This book really captures that brilliantly.
The good humour of the soldiers, the personally observed little splashes of local colour and the time when this was written all make this a book well worth preserving, and reading if you have an interest in the war.
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