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The Great War Illustrated - The Home Front (Paperback)

Final Blows and the Year of Victory

Military WWI > Home Front

By David Bilton
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: The Great War Illustrated
Pages: 174
Illustrations: 500
ISBN: 9781473833685
Published: 19th February 2018



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Many books have looked at the effect of the war on the Home Front, but this is the first book to take a look at civilian life at home photographically from an international perspective: covering both Allied and enemy countries, juxtaposing the same situations in different countries to show a similar response.

This fifth and final volume chronicles the events of the last year of the war and looks briefly at the beginnings of peace. At the start of the year the civilians on both sides were resigned to another year of pain and further belt-tightening as the shortages grew. Food and materials were in short-supply and the military had first-call on just about everything. People had to learn to make do with what they had. Although the U-boat campaign had been beaten by the introduction of the convoy, rationing needed to be introduced in Britain and France to even out the distribution of essential foods. No one would starve but many went hungry. However, throughout the Central Powers, because of the Allied blockade, the situation was far worse: everything was scarce or difficult to get hold of; some goods were unobtainable except from the Black Market. However, as neither side was prepared to give in, and with no end in sight, civilians just had to get on with their lives as best they could.

The book follows the same format as the previous four providing the reader with a brief overview of the events of the year on the Home Front at home and abroad, a detailed timeline and a wealth of photographs, divided into themes: raids, life on the Home front, Christmas, propaganda, casualties and captivity, and home defence. Many of the, over two hundred photos, have not been seen since they were published during the war and some are published here for the first time. The photos are international and give a flavour of what life was like for the civilian during the most turbulent year of the war.

This unique series of international photographic books fits in with the author’s more textual books on the Home Front: Hull in the Great War, Reading in the Great War volumes 1 and 2, and The Home Front in the Great War.

Editor's Choice

Superb selection of images with brief captions, but they give a wonderful view of life on the home fronts at home and abroad.

Highly commended. 10/10

The Great War magazine, November 2018
 David Bilton

About David Bilton

David Bilton is a retired teacher who spends his time looking after his family, working as a university lecturer and researching the Great War; an interest ignited by his paternal grandfather’s refusal to talk about his experiences at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. He is a prolific author whose books includes works on the British and German Army, the Home Front and Great War badges; this is volume three of the badges of the British Army in the Great War. Since he started writing he has contributed to television and radio programmes, appeared on Country File and Look North, and given talks on his work.

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