Tommy's War: The Western Front in Soldiers' Words and Photographs
About the Book
“The historians are right in filling their pages with the records of war. It is the most interesting of human phenomena.” --- Lieutenant Leslie Sanders, killed in action on March 10, 1917
Shortly after images of the famous Christmas Truce of 1914 found their way into national newspapers in Britain, the military authorities banned the private use of cameras on the Western Front. A considerable number of soldiers continued to use them illicitly to record life and death in the frontline trenches. Thousands of those photos survive today, most never published before --- TOMMY'S WAR is a deeply personal and incredibly revealing portrait of the war through the lenses and words of the soldiers who lived it.
Not a traditional history of World War I --- not simply the army’s history of battles won and lost --- TOMMY'S WAR is first and foremost the soldier’s story. Renowned WWI historian Richard van Emden reveals the life of the everyday soldier, using personal photos, diaries, letters home, and observations of the ordinary man and the minutiae of life in the trenches. In vivid and intimate detail, van Emden brings the history of WWI alive.
Including over 250 personal and unpublished photographs, this large-format book gives a new perspective on the war that was not captured by the official photographers who traversed the Western Front. Combined with extracts from personal diaries and letters written by soldiers and civilians in Britain through each year of the war until Armistice Day in 1918, TOMMY'S WAR is a stunning portrayal of humanity, at its best and at its worst.