One would naturally expect the two books under review, one a history published by an academic press and the other a novel, to be very different treatments of their chosen theme. Yet it is the similarities between them that consistently strike the reader.
Anybody remotely involved in ‘Churchill Studies’ or even interested in the great man to the extent of reading books by him or on him must have encountered references in the footnotes to the considerable amount of written material which he left. A large part is now deposited at the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge – and available to the public.
Rachel Duffett has written a fine social history of British rank and file soldiers, or rankers, and their experiences of food during the Great War. She states, ‘The ranker’s relationship with food was a constant thread, woven throughout his army experience … every day, wherever he was, a man needed to eat’ (p. 229).
In this fine monograph, based almost entirely on his PhD thesis, David Monger assesses the propaganda activities of the National War Aims Committee (NWAC) during the First World War, a focus which has already been supplemented by a number of journal articles in the last few years, relating to propaganda, and civilian and servicemen's morale during this period.
‘It is astonishing’, states Panikos Panayi in the opening sentence of his monograph, ‘that almost a century after the outbreak of the First World War, no academic study has yet appeared upon the experiences of German prisoners of war in Britain’ (p. 1).
Clive Emsley’s project seeks to frame the intersection of crime and military service in multiple ways and contexts. These include the relationship between wartime service and offending; the comparison of military and civilian crime rates in both war and peacetime; and the changing perceptions of soldiers held by Britons in the 20th century.
This review was written in early June, and coincided with the anniversary of D-Day. The annual commemoration of this event, accompanied this year by new television documentaries as well as the replaying of iconic films, is yet another reminder of the important place the Second World War still occupies in British culture as well as history.
The question of the nature of allegiance in the English Civil Wars has been a perennial issue for at least three generations of professional academics.
‘World War I is one of the most studied topics of modern scholarship.
In an article for The Times Magazine published earlier this year, the novelist Sebastian Faulks characterized relations between soldiers of the First World War (whose monolithic perspective he takes on in the article) and British civilians thus: ‘When you return home, on leave, wounded or, with luck, demobilised in 1918, you will find that people have little idea of what you have endur