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Volunteers (ePub)

The Incredible Story of Kitchener's Army Through Soldiers' and Civilians' Own Words and Photographs

Military P&S History > British History WWI

By Richard van Emden
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 176.7 MB (.epub)
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781473891883
Published: 23rd October 2023


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What greater pride might a young man feel than to serve shoulder to shoulder with his friends in time of war? To enlist into the army with his pals, chums, mates, filling the ranks of battalions that drew their strength from the local community, from amongst factory workers, miners, shop-workers and tradesmen. In August 1914, what more fitting role was there to play than to answer the country’s call to arms?

The past is another country, of course: the world in which these men grew up and the mores that took them to the Western Front might appear innocent and naive today. The Somme battle eviscerated many of these free-spirited battalions. But the raising of this New Army – a purely volunteer army – lives on in the public consciousness, their collective story part of our heritage.

Who were these volunteers who poured into recruiting offices, overwhelming the staff? What motivated these men – too often just boys - to join up? How did they feel about one another and the new military regime into which so many ran with enthusiasm, without much thought as to the future?

After the success of his previous books, The Somme, The Road to Passchendaele, and 1918, best-selling Great War historian Richard van Emden returns to the beginning of the War with this, his latest volume, including an unparalleled collection of soldiers’ own photographs taken on their privately-held cameras. Drawing on long-forgotten memoirs, diaries and letters written by the men who enlisted, Richard tells the riveting story of Kitchener’s volunteers, before they went to fight.

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 Richard Van Emden

About Richard van Emden

Richard van Emden interviewed 270 veterans of the Great War, has written extensively about the soldiers' lives, and has worked on many television documentaries, always concentrating on the human aspects of war, its challenge and its cost to the millions of men involved. Richard van Emden’s books have sold over 660,000 copies and have appeared in The Times’ bestseller chart on a number of occasions.
He has also worked on more than a dozen television programmes on the Great War, including the award-winning Roses of No Man’s Land, Britain’s Boy Soldiers, A Poem for Harry, War Horse: the Real Story, Teenage Tommies with Fergal Keane and most recently, Hidden Histories: WW1’s Forgotten Photographs. He lives in London.

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