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The Battalion (Hardback)

Citizen Soldiers at War on the Western Front

Military WWI

By Ian Isherwood
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 20 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526774224
Published: 30th August 2024


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RRP £25.00

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How did ordinary citizens become soldiers during the First World War, and how did they cope with the extraordinary challenges they confronted on the Western Front? These are questions Ian Isherwood seeks to answer in this absorbing and deeply researched study of the actions and experiences of an infantry battalion throughout the conflict. His work gives us a vivid impression of the reality of war for these volunteers and an insight into the motivation that kept them fighting.

The narrative traces the history of the 8th Battalion The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment), a Kitchener battalion raised in 1914. The letters, memoirs and diaries of the men of the battalion, in particular the correspondence of their commanding officer, reveal in fascinating detail what wartime life was like for this group of men. It includes vivid accounts of the major battles in which they were involved – Loos, the Somme, Passchendaele, the German Spring Offensive, and the final 100 Days campaign.

The battalion took heavy losses, yet those who survived continued to fight and took great pride in their service, an attitude that is at odds with much of the popular perception of the Great War. Ian Isherwood brings in the latest research on military thinking and learning, on emotional resilience, and cultural history to tell their story.

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About Ian Isherwood

Ian Isherwood teaches at Gettysburg College in the USA. An expert in modern history with a focus on war and memory studies, his articles and book reviews have appeared in First World War Studies, War, Literature and the Arts, The Journal of Military History, War & Society, The Journal of the Civil War Era, and War in History. He was awarded his PhD at Glasgow University and edits the digital history project jackpeirs.org. He is the author of Remembering the Great War: Writing and Publishing the Experiences of WWI.

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