The Decisive Year in Soldiers’ Own Words and Photographs
Remembrance weekend publicity
As seen on Sunday Brunch, 11 November 2018.
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Chosen by The Bookseller’s independent industry experts as Highlight of the Season in the non-fiction buyer’s guide 2018.
1918 proved to be the Allies’ year of victory, but what a monumental effort it was! From the moment Germany launched its all-out Spring offensive to win the war, British and Empire troops fought a tenacious and often last-ditch rearguard action. The Germans gambled with their best, battle-hardened men in one desperate offensive after another, searching for a decisive breakthrough that never came.
In those dark days of March, April and May 1918, Allied troops were tested as never before, their morale placed under microscopic scrutiny, their will to win examined and re-examined. Once again, the soldiers tell their story, giving their own perceptive thoughts and profoundly moving insights while never forgetting the humour that helped them survive.
And when the tables were turned in August, there began a campaign that would throw the enemy across the old ruptured battlefields of 1916 and 1917 and beyond, into open untouched countryside in the full bloom of summer. It took a hundred days of relentless fighting to reach Mons, the Belgian town where it had all started four years before.
A century on, best-selling First World War historian Richard van Emden builds on the success of his previous books, The Somme and The Road to Passchendaele, with this next volume including an extraordinary collection of soldiers’ photographs taken on their illegally-held cameras. Utilising an unparalleled collection of memoirs, diaries and letters written by the men who fought, Richard tells the riveting story of 1918, when decisive victory was grasped from near catastrophe.
"Van Emden has a keen eye for putting accounts into conversation with one another and letting them speak for themselves."First World War Studies, May 2022
Review by Jane TynanJournal of British Studies
Through firsthand images and soldiers’ accounts, it also conveys the claustrophobic atmosphere of the late war; as such it is an absorbing and accessible volume that offers insights into what being there really meant.
Recommended.Stand To! Journal of the Western Front Association
The great merit of Van Emden, in addition to collecting the testimonies (between hundreds and hundreds it seems that the historian can always find those who bind to form a narrative continuous and exciting) is to have chosen photos of undoubted value.Old Barbed Wire Blog
Read the full Italian review here
With 1918 van Emden has crafted another compelling account of the war; a soldiers’ account, rather than a comprehensive overview of the campaigns and battles of 1918, but one of the best titles on the final year of the war to have been published in the twilight of the centenary period.WW1 Geek
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As featured byHistory of War, issue 62
The latest in the author’s series in which he tells the story of the final year of the “War to end all Wars” based almost exclusively on the words and photographs of the fighting men on both sides who are no longer with us to tell their tale. The consequence is a gripping worm’s eye view of the final year of the War which helps today’s reader far better understand the needs, fears and expectations of the men on the ground. It is not, nor intended to be, a campaign history but provides a balanced general narrative with the experience of the individual soldier throughout the momentous final year of the War which proved to be the most costly to Britain in terms of casualties. Like his earlier volumes in the series; The Somme – The Epic Battle in the Soldiers’ Own Words and Photographs published in 2016 and The Road to Passchendaele - The Heroic Year in Soldiers’ Own Words and Photographs published in 2017, 1918 – A Decisive Year it is highly recommended.Military Historical Society
A rejuvenating work within a niche as trite as the First World War.Miniaturas JM
Read the full Spanish review here
As referenced in articleLancashire Evening Post, 19th December 2018
Article: Lest We Forget part of WWI Armistice centenary featureAmateur Photographer, 10th November 2018 - words by Amy Davies
As featured byThe Armourer, December 2018
Featured as BOOK OF THE MONTH alongside author Q&AHistory Revealed, December 2018
There will be those who buy this book for whom this is an entry into the Great War, and for those people this will be a terrific introduction: top authors, previously unseen photos, first hand veteran accounts and a skillful narrator in the shape of Van Emden. It has it all.Army Ancestry Research, Paul Nixon
Read the full review here
'Your dedication and painstaking attention to detail are evident in all your books. They’re a pleasure to read…'James Broome, via Twitter
As featured inThe Bookseller 8/6/18