Sapper Martin: The Secret Great War Diary of Jack Martin

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9781408803110: Sapper Martin: The Secret Great War Diary of Jack Martin

Jack Martin was a thirty-two-year-old clerk at the Admiralty when he was called up to serve in the army in September 1916. These diaries, written in secret, hidden from his colleagues and only discovered by his family after his return home, present the Great War with heartbreaking clarity, written in a voice as compelling and distinctive as Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon and all the more extraordinary given that it is not an officer's but that of a private. From his arrival in France and his participation in the Somme, through offensives at Ypres and eventual demobilisation after the Armistice, we see wartime life as it really was for the ordinary Tommy. In these journals, introduced and edited by bestselling "First World War" historian Richard van Emden, we witness the cheerful Albert Martin getting to grips with life in the trenches and, together with his comrades in the Royal Engineers, confronting the ever-present threat of injury and death. We also see the mundane reality of life at the front line - the arguments with superiors, the joy brought by the arrival of packages from loved ones at home and the appalling conditions in which that attritional war was fought.

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About the Author:

Richard van Emden has interviewed over 270 veterans of the Great War and has written ten books on the Great War including The Trench, and The Last Fighting Tommy (both top ten bestsellers), The Soldier's War, Boy Soldiers of the Great War and Prisoners of the Kaiser. He has also worked on more than a dozen television programmes on the Great War, including Prisoners of the Kaiser, Veterans, Britain's Last Tommies, and the award winning Roses of No Man's Land and Britain's Boy Soldiers.

Review:

Praise for The Soldier's War 'Thousands of books have been written about the Great War, but perhaps none so vividly evocative as Richard van Emden's The Soldier's War ... an extraordinary homage to a lost generation' Daily Mail 'A remarkably distressing yet uplifting book ... these descriptions from a Tommy's eye-view have a gut-wrenching immediacy' Daily Mail 'In The Soldier's War, Richard van Emden has toiled in archives and hunted down caches of letters to tell the story of the war chronologically through the eyes of the Tommies who fought it, recording their days of tedium and moments of terror' The Times

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