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It was one of the most controversial and still haunting aspects of World War One: the execution of 351 British soldiers for cowardice and desertion in the face of the enemy. Using new material that only now has become available from the Public Records Office and other sources, this compelling history sets out the facts of these courts-martial and shootings--and just as important, places them in the context of the military, social, and medical context of the period.
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John Hughes-Wilson (author of Military Intelligence Blunders) and Cathryn Corns have organised and led highly successful 'Shot at Dawn' battlefield tours through France and Flanders. While both have published work before, this is their first book in collaboration with one another. John Huges-Wilson lives in Loughton, Essex and Cathryn Corns lives in Sandwich, Kent.From Library Journal:
It hardly seems fair to place a man in hell and then to punish him when he shows fear. Yet this was standard procedure in the British army in World War I, when execution by firing squad was punishment for desertion in the face of the enemy and other crimes. Using recently released courts-martial records, clinical scientist Corns and retired British army intelligence Colonel Hughes-Wilson attempt to explain Britain's use of the ultimate punishment in terms of the military, medical, and social mind-sets of the time. The book begins and ends well, with essential background at the front and ruminative discussion at the back. In between, however, is a tedious bog. Here, the authors summarize case after miserable case, each reported in exactly the same numbing, repetitive fashion. The authors do not chronicle all 346 British military executions that took place at that time; it just feels as if they do. Words like heart-rending and poignant are sometimes used, but such emotions rarely emerge from the page. There's no flesh on these old bones, and, though it is clear that the authors themselves see the men who were shot as individuals, for us they remain only names. Nevertheless, this is a unique, important work and a valuable resource; recommended for both larger public and academic libraries. Michael F. Russo, Louisiana State Univ. Libs., Baton Rouge
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Cassell, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110304353973