Monday, October 7, 2013

An Awfully Big Adventure, New Zealand World War One veterans tell their stories - Jane Tolerton

I have just finished reading Jane Tolerton's excellent book 'An Awfully Big Adventure' and felt compelled to write my own review.

The book is based on the memories and reflections of 80 New Zealand World War One (WW1) veterans who were interviewed by Jane Tolerton for the WW1 oral history archive.

The book is a must for anyone whether knowledgeable or not on WW1 who wants to read a more personal account of WW1.  I personally was unable to put the book down and at times was moved to tears especially so by Eric Beveridge's and Frederick Avery's account of the young Tommie (English) soldiers who wanted their mothers crying out for them when wounded.  Being a mother of four including two sons this certainly hit a nerve.

The book is scattered with photographs and the accounts are told in the chronological order of the war which is helpful to anyone who has a limited knowledge of the events of WW1. 

I loved that at the end of the book a small account was given of some of the veterans lives after the war and their thoughts of WW2 and Anzac day.

The book left me wishing I had, had the opportunity to talk to my own great-grandfather and great uncles of their experiences in WW1, but alas when they were alive I was at an age when world wars were far from my adolescent thoughts.

I highly recommend this book to all New Zealanders especially with the Centenary of WW1 around the corner.

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