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February 09 , 2010

Soldier from the Wars Returning


Soldier from the Wars Returning is one of the truest, most profound and readable personal accounts of the Great War. The author waited nearly fifty years before writing it, and the perspective of history enhances its value.
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The novel is set in Yorkshire in the period 1811-12, during the industrial depression resulting from the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. The novel is set against a backdrop of the Luddite uprisings in the Yorkshire textile industry.

He writes only of the battles in which he participated (including the Somme and Passchendaele), though his comments on affairs beyond his knowledge at the time, through later study and reflection, are pungent and stimulating. Among other topics, he describes the politicians, the generals, Kitchener's Army, Hore-Belisha, German gas attacks, Picardy, dug-outs, tanks, the sex-life of the soldier, scrounging. trench kits and the censoring of letters.

The author saw the First World War from below, as a fighting soldier in a line regiment. In the Second World War he served as a staff officer liaising between the Army and the RAF; serving two tours at RAF Bomber Command HQ at High Wycombe. This equipped him to draw forthright comparisons between the conduct of the two wars.

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