Saturday, 12 July 2014

At last, the Centenary of the Great War is in sight!

After two years of writing books about the First World War, I can finally see the Centenary coming into view - and what a welcome sight it is! For at last it means the publication of my first two books: Bristol in the Great War, which will be out in August, and Letters from the Trenches, out in November, A third title, Dorchester, Weymouth and Portland in the Great War is still being written and that will be published next year.

In the run-up to the start of the Centenary on August 4th, I shall be posting extracts from Bristol in the Great War as a tribute to those who lived through those awful years. Using military events as background, the book describes what it was like to live in Bristol between 1914 and 1918, and looks behind the scenes to see how ordinary people coped. As always on my blog, the extracts will use the words of people who were actually there.

The book is arranged in five chapters, covering the five years of war, and I shall be posting an extract from each one, along with illustrations (the book is packed with 100 photographs, many of which have never been published). I hope you enjoy them, even if you're not familiar with Bristol, and if you feel inclined to buy a copy of the book, simply click the link on the left.

Things have changed enormously in the two years since I began my writing projects, In 2012 it wasn't unheard of for children to confuse the two world wars, or simply not know the 1914-18 conflict existed. There's little chance of that now, with schools very much involved in the Centenary. Some even have their own WW1-themed blogs and twitter accounts.

Interest in the war has also inspired people to investigate their own family histories, and I have listened to some moving accounts by people who have discovered exactly how their relatives were involved in the conflict. A huge amount of research is now being published - from sweeping tomes to local stories - and it's noticeable that information about Britain during the Great War is now being pulled together in books and on websites. Two years ago it was often scattered among many different sources and hard to find.

I hope my books will play their own small part in ensuring that, long after the Centenary is forgotten, those who lived through the Great War are always remembered.

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