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The unmissable Sunday Times bestseller now in paperback. The first history of World War I to place centre-stage the British soldier who fought in the trenches, this superb and important book tells the story of an epic and terrible war through the letters, diaries and memories of those who fought it. The First World War is embedded in the British consciousness. It summons images of bloody barbed wire and trenches deep with bodies, great aunts who never married and youthful servicemen who never grew old. Tommy tells the story of the First World War through the experiences of those who fought it. Of the 6 million men who served in the British army, nearly one million lost their lives and over 2 million were wounded. This is the story of these men - epitomised by the character of Sgt Tommy Atkins - and the women they left behind. Using previously unseen letters, diaries, memoirs and poetry from the years 1914-1918, Richard Holmes paints a moving picture of the generation that fought and died in the mud of Flanders. He follows men whose mental health was forever destroyed by shell shock, women who lost husbands and brothers in the same afternoon and those who wrote at lunchtime and died before tea. Groundbreaking and critically-acclaimed, this book tells the real story of trench warfare, the strength and fallibility of the human spirit, the individuals behind an epic event, and their legacy. It is an emotional and unforgettable masterpiece from one of our most important historians.
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/ Key title The unmissable Sunday Times bestseller now in paperback. The first history of World War I to place centre-stage the British soldier who fought in the trenches, this superb and important book tells the story of an epic and terrible war through the letters, diaries and memories of those who fought it. / Tommy has sold over 30,000 copies in hardback to date and debuted at Number 2 on the bestseller lists / Received outstanding review coverage and was widely hailed as a truly groundbreaking and important work of historical research and writing. / Chosen as a Book of the Year in the Observer. / Tommy is the only book to use firsthand sources rather than the regular accounts, which are often given after the passing of many decades. / Holmes has uncovered heart-rending fresh material in his research. This personal passion comes across compellingly throughout the book. / Includes PS section: author profile, exclusive essay written by Patrick Bishop (author of Fighter Boys), and more.


About the Author

Celebrated military historian and television presenter Richard Holmes is famous for his BBC series Rebels and Redcoats: The American Revolutionary War; Wellington: The Iron Duke; Battlefields; War Walks and The Western Front. He is the author of the best-selling and widely acclaimed Redcoat (2001) and his dozen other books include Firing Line and The Western Front. He is general editor of the definitive Oxford Companion to Military History. He taught military history at Sandhurst for many years and is now Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University and the Royal Military College of Science. He lives near Winchester in Hampshire.


'Holmes is one of our foremost military scholars and a skilled writer who knows his audience well. This is excellent popular history: scholarly, highly readable and utterly absorbing.' Daily Telegraph 'Monumental ... Every page of this is worth reading.' Time Out 'Where Holmes's book come brilliantly to life is in his use of first-hand accounts of the trench experience ... It is Holmes's achievement to make this familiar landscape come alive with the humanity of those who fought in it.' TLS 'Holmes has produced yet another fascinating, balanced and original book of a highly emotive subject. ' Sunday Telegraph Praise for Redcoat: 'Redcoat is not just a work of history but of enthusiasm and unparalleled knowledge. This is a wonderful book, doing justice to men who have long deserved a chronicler of Richard Holmes' skill.' Bernard Cornwell 'It would be hard to exaggerate the excellence of this book. Vivid, comprehensive, well-written, pacy, colourful.' Simon Heffer 'A wonderful book, full of anecdote and good sense. Anyone who has enjoyed a Sharpe story will love it.' Bernard Cornwell, Daily Mail 'Beautifully written, Redcoat is a vivid account of squalor and suffering almost beyond belief, for the men, their wives and followers, and their horses. One of the best chapters is a description of barrack-room life that will turn a few stomachs in this more fastitidious age.' John Canon, TLS 'Redcoat is the story of the British soldier from the Seven Year War through to the Mutiny and Crimea. It is consistently entertaining, full of brilliantly chosen anecdotes and rattles along at a good light infantry pace.' David Crane, Spectator 'All the best-known soldier writers are discussed here, and their anecdotes are told with enthusiasm and aplomb! This is an army from another world, and Redcoat is a splendidly entertaining, moving and informative description of its strengths and foibles.' Hew Strachan, Daily Telegraph

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