Monday, June 16, 2014

Harry's War by Harry Stinton

Most books of war that I've read talk about World War II. That's why Harry's War was so interesting to me - it's an account of a British soldier's life during World War I.

Harry's war was written by Harry Stinton, possibly as a way of coping with the aftershocks of war. He hadn't intended to publish his memoirs, but after his death, his diaries were discovered and published. He writes in a fairly unemotional tone, as though he was just recording the facts and wasn't actually involved (although to me, that shows how much he was affected, that he needed the distance).

What I got from this book was a detailed look at how the trench war was fought, and in particular, the part bombers (of which Harry was one) played in the war. While it isn't as emotional as Dulce et Decorum Est, the level of detail in this book made it easy for me to visualise what a terrible place it must have been.

Apart from Harry's narrative, there are several pictures that Harry drew in this book. Apparently, these are the only pictures he's drawn, and they were very helpful in illustrating certain aspects of the war. While he did not draw the gorier aspects, he did show me the details of how the war was fought.

This is not the most emotional of books. For a diary, it's surprisingly matter-of-fact and for some readers, may be boring. But it gave me valuable insights into the first World War, and I think it's a good introduction to life as a solder during the war (particularly for people who are squeamish) due to its matter-of-fact nature.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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