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The Old Front Line (Hardback)

The Centenary of the Western Front in Pictures


By Dr Stephen Bull
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Series: WWII Historic Battlefields
Pages: 192
Illustrations: b/w and colour illustrations throughout
ISBN: 9781612002309
Published: 19th August 2014



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Now that the last veterans are gone, the First World War is now a completely historical subject—governed by archaeology and genealogy, battlefield tourism and military history. The anguish and privations are a bit further away, but there is still huge interest in the awful conditions and carnage endured by a generation of youth who sacrificed their lives for their country.“The Old Front Line” is a phrase first coined by the poet John Masefield when he looked back on the battle of the Somme from a distance of just one year, in 1917, and speculated how the Western Front might look in the future. Stephen Bull’s copiously illustrated work—part travel guide, part popular history—a century on, answers his speculations. The main source material is new and contemporary photographs, as well as some from the intervening century. Taken together these provide a series of exciting vistas and informative details that tell the story of the battles and landscapes. Aerial photography, old and new ground shots—and in a few cases even images taken underground—provide an authoritative summary of the war on the Western Front. Following an introduction that sets the scene and looks at the early stages of the war, eight chapters examine the Western Front geographically, looking closely at the main areas of fighting and what is visible today: not just the “iron harvest”—the scars left by trench and battle—but also the cemeteries, war memorials and statues that remind the visitor starkly of the loss of a generation.

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About Dr Stephen Bull

Dr Stephen Bull is currently Curator of Military History and Archaeology for Lancashire Museums. He has previously worked at the National Army Museum, and for the BBC in London. He is the author of more than twenty military and historical titles published in Europe and the US, and he has appeared in the TV series Battlefield Detectives. Among his many publications are An Historical Guide to Arms and Armour, Volunteer! The Lancashire Rifle Volunteers 1859-1885, Brassey's History of Uniforms: World War One British Army, World War I Trench Warfare, Encyclopedia of Military Technology and Innovation, World War II Infantry Tactics, World War II Jungle Warfare Tactics and Commando Tactics: The Second World War.

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