War is War (Kindle)
By Ex-Private X
Alfred Burrage's War is War is his sincere and successful attempt to record his experiences as a private soldier in France during the First World War, his reactions to abnormal conditions and his observations. Written in the 1920s he wanted the curious to know what war was really like. Burrage realised that nearly all such memoirs were written by ex-officers who inevitably saw the war from a different view point to Tommy Atkins – as he put it, the officers 'were only with us, not of us, and they cannot get inside our skins.'
In this account, written of necessity under a pseudonym, he covers the wide canvas of war, from off duty moments in grubby estaminets and brothels, to life in shell torn trenches, going over the top with equally terrified yet resigned comrades, being a casualty, to periods of numbing boredom.
War is War is superbly crafted and phrased and will be revelation to even the most informed student of The Great War. Private X writes with complete honesty and avoids sentimentality. How fortunate that he at least survived his ordeal to share with us nearly 100 years later his thoughts, fears and experiences.
Educated at Douai School, Alfred McLelland Burrage earned his living writing short stories for the many magazines and periodicals of the period. After his war in the Artist's Rifles, he enjoyed considerable success as a literary figure, until fashions changed and short stories were killed off by the Second World War. He died soon after.
Strongly recommended account of the the ordinary man at warThe Western Front Association Stand To! Magazine