Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Book Review #602 - World War One: A History in 100 Stories by Bruce Scates, Rebecca Wheatley and Laura James


My Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Penguin Australia

Buy: The Book Depository


There has been no shortage of heroic stories over the course of the Anzac Centenary: stories of courage and sacrifice, fortitude and endurance, mateship and resolve. But a hundred years on, there is a need for other stories as well - the stories too often marginalised in favour of nation-building narratives.World War One: a history in 100 stories remembers not just the men and women who lost their lives during the battles of WWI, but those who returned home as well: the gassed, the crippled, the insane - all those irreparably damaged by war.

Drawn from a unique collection of sources, including repatriation files, these heartbreaking and deeply personal stories reveal a broken and suffering generation - gentle men driven to violence, mothers sent insane with grief, the hopelessness of rehabilitation and the quiet, pervasive sadness of loss. They also retrieve a fragile kind of courage from the pain and devastation of a conflict that changed the world.

This is an unflinching and remarkable social history. It is an act of remembering in the face of forgetting. Telling the truth about war requires its own kind of courage.

I have extensive family connections (like most Australians) to World War One and so I was really looking forward to this book. 

This book was obviously published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Landing and is the reason for there being exactly 100 stories.

This book tells 100 unique, compelling stories about people with different connections to the Great War. For example, some stories follow the brave young men who made the ultimate sacrifice on the front line while others follow women back home in Australia doing anything they can to help. 

I loved the amount of research that was obviously done to create this book. All the letters from parents to the War Office were harrowing and showed how incompetent the government was when Australia was in its infancy as a nation. 

I found this book to be more of a coffee table book in that I would randomly pick it up every now and then and read a few stories at a time. The size and weight of the book really prevent cover to cover reading anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment