The Somme also including The Coward (Casemate Classic War Fiction)

by A.D. Gristwood | Other |
ISBN: 161200380X Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingSpatialwing of Arlington, Virginia USA on 2/8/2018
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingSpatialwing from Arlington, Virginia USA on Thursday, February 08, 2018
Bought from Aurora Hills Branch Library's book sale shelf.

From back cover:

'The million British dead have left no books behind. What they felt as they died hour by hour in the mud, or were choked horribly with gas, or relinquished their reluctant lives on stretchers, no witness tells. But here is a book that almost tells it... This is the story of millions of men - of millions.' - H. G. Wells, Preface.

First published in 1927, heroics and self-sacrifice are completely absent in Gristwood's novels. Instead, his gritty realism focuses on life in WWI for the ordinary soldier.
The Somme relates the story of Everitt, who is wounded and moved back through a series of dressing stations to the General Hospital at Rouen. Both in and out of the line he behaves selfishly and unheroically, but his circumstances and the conditions around him make his actions easy to understand. The Coward concerns a man who shoots himself in the hand to escape the war during the March 1918 retreat - an offense punishable by death. Based on A. D. Gristwood's own wartime experiences, and written under the guidance of master storyteller H. G. Wells, critics have said that few other accounts of the war give such an accurate picture of trench life.

Journal Entry 2 by wingSpatialwing at Arlington, Virginia USA on Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Interesting look into the unglamorous life of infantrymen during World War I. The book is broken down into two stories:

The Somme
The story of an infantryman engaged in trench warfare on the front lines. Unglamorous, terrifying, and filled with futility as he and his fellow soldiers make their way to the front, push the line forward and then the nearly as terrifying journey as one of the injured back. A difficult read but one all military enthusiasts and perspective soldiers should read. But as the 2 stories mention, knowing the reality would lower the patriotism of many and keep enrollment low.

The Coward
This story is said to be based on the author’s life, who later committed suicide (related to the war? Who can know but you can’t help but feel that it is so.). This story also takes place near the front line. But the main character here has the time to plot and execute a plan of cowardice. (Who can truly say they would or would not do the same? There is no way to tell until faced with a similar situation.) We see throughout the story the character’s struggle with his actions as he feels relief, fear, and shame. For even a coward’s choice has unforeseen consequences.

The book starts with a preface from H.G. Wells who believed in the stories’ need to be told so much that he helped the author with them and wrote this great intro.

Journal Entry 3 by wingSpatialwing at Arlington, Virginia USA on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I'm passing this book along via
greenbadger’s One Book a Month thread!

Good luck to all!


1- FinalsEnd
2- mcsar

Journal Entry 4 by wingSpatialwing at -- Mailed, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Released 11 mos ago (4/25/2018 UTC) at -- Mailed, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA


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Congratulations to FinalsEnd!
Hope you enjoy!

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Journal Entry 5 by BookishPanda at Apeldoorn, Gelderland Netherlands on Tuesday, May 01, 2018
Wow, the book arrived today, which is very quickly. Thanks a lot! I'm very interested in reading this. Also thanks for the labels (never had those before, so it'll be fun to use them).

Journal Entry 6 by BookishPanda at Apeldoorn, Gelderland Netherlands on Monday, May 07, 2018
I "enjoyed" this book (it's weird to say enjoy, but I mean that I think this is a good book). It's interesting and important that these stories are told. It reminded me of "Im Western nichts Neues". It is not as gruesome as that, but these are experiences of "The Great War" in its own right. I think it is well written. You can imagine the feelings of the men, hoping to get injured bad enough to be send home, but good enough so you will not be permanently disabled and you will not die. I do not blame "the coward", I think it is understandable. I also think the surroundings are well described, so you can really get into it and imagine what it would have been like to be in the middle of it.

Journal Entry 7 by BookishPanda at Saumur, Pays de la Loire France on Monday, June 11, 2018

Released 9 mos ago (6/11/2018 UTC) at Saumur, Pays de la Loire France


Sending this to mcsar as a surprise.

Journal Entry 8 by mcsar at Richmond, British Columbia Canada on Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Thank you for this wonderful surprise! I "enjoyed" All Quiet on the Western Front" too and always like to read about the War from different perspectives. It happens that I just finished reading a play that looks at the War from the Canadian perspective. I appreciate the chance to read this one. Thanks for sharing.

Update: This one is quite different than other war novels I have read. It is not character driven or plot driven and so it is not a page turner. But it is really good at describing the plight of the soldiers at the frontline and does it without sentimentalizing it. I find it a worthwhile read.

Journal Entry 9 by mcsar at RABCK Winner, RABCK Sweepstakes/Drawing -- Controlled Releases on Friday, October 05, 2018

Released 5 mos ago (10/5/2018 UTC) at RABCK Winner, RABCK Sweepstakes/Drawing -- Controlled Releases


To the winner of the Global Sweepstakes. Congratulations and happy reading.

Received today, thank you very much! A timely book as we're commemorating 100 years since the end of WW1 this month.

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