Six Weeks: The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War

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9780297860068: Six Weeks: The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War
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With their Latin lessons still resounding in their minds, many boys during the Great War went straight from the classroom to the most dangerous job in the world - that of junior officer on the Western Front. Although desperately aware of how many of their predecessors had fallen before them, nearly all stepped forward, unflinchingly, to do their duty. The average the life expectancy of a subaltern in the trenches was a mere six weeks. In this remarkable book, John Lewis-Stempel focuses on the forgotten men who truly won Britain's victory in the First World War - the subalterns, lieutenants and captains of the Army, the leaders in the trenches, the first 'over the top,' the last to retreat. Basing his narrative on a huge range of first-person accounts, including the poignant letters and diaries sent home or to their old schools, the author reveals what motivated these boy-men to act in such an extraordinary, heroic way. He describes their brief, brilliant lives in and out of the earth world of the trenches, the tireless ways they cared for their men, and how they tried to behave with honour in a world where their values and codes were quite literally being shot to pieces.

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About the Author:

John Lewis-Stempel is the author of the highly acclaimed THE WILD LIFE and THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE BRITISH SOLDIER. Since 1996 he has lived on a farm in Herefordshire with his wife and two children.

Review:

'Best research resource ever. Beautiful book' -- Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) 'a harrowing but engrossing meditation on a national tragedy... This book could not demonstrate more vividly how those ideals [of chivalry, patriotism and self-sacrifice] which inspired such bravery were shattered.' DAILY MAIL 'a superb study... Lewis-Stempel's marvelously evocative book is full of throat-catching moments... The result is the most moving single book on the Great War that I have ever read - and I have read many... his book pays the subalterns the respect they deserve by entering into their distant mindsets.' -- Nigel Jones LITERARY REVIEW 'This well researched book tells the harrowing story of the men - or adolescents, many of them -who unhesitatingly answered the call by War Minister Lord Kitchener for volunteers, and continued to answer it even after it became clear that the life expectancy of a subaltern in the trenches averaged only six weeks... Lewis-Stempel is excellent on life in the trenches... for all the horror and pity of their struggle, their legacy is our freedom.' -- Andrew Roberts MAIL ON SUNDAY 'woven with great narrative skill...presents an incomparable portrait of a generation' MILITARY TIMES 'It is only rarely that a book deserves to be recommended unreservedly but John Lewis-Stempel's Six Weeks falls firmly into that category...This is a book that should be read by every young man who aspires to serve as an officer in the Army; it will educate him about how to behave in command of soldiers and about how to face the perils of war.' THE GUARDS MAGAZINE 'a valuable addition to the vast literature of the First World war' DAILY EXPRESS

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9781409102144: Six Weeks: The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War

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ISBN 10:  1409102149 ISBN 13:  9781409102144
Publisher: Orion, 2011
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