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The intention of this Series is to form the first complete, systematic and fully annotated bibliography of the First World War. Published in hardback, this series will not be numbered or restricted to a single print run. The first volume will be available shortly.
The personal memorial volumes of the Great War of 1914-1918 were a phenomenon particular to the period and more especially to the temporary officers who fell in such large numbers during the war. There are also a number to regular army (and Royal Navy) officers, a few to “other ranks” and a couple of Americans serving with the British Forces during the war.
This bibliography, the result of many years of careful recording and study of the genre, contains bibliographical details and extensive notes on 370 volumes devoted to men (and several women) who fell in the war. It is a valuable guide to a primary source, the extent and range of which few have appreciated to date. It records in detail a cannon of writing – much of it surprisingly fine considering the youth of the writers – which provides us with a wide range of personal experiences and emotions which together portray the active service experience of the Western and other Fronts.
The letters and diaries reproduced in these volumes, together
with the memorials of their lives written by those who knew
them, and the letters of condolence written by comrades and
friends, tell us much about these young men who fought in the
First World War, their society and background and, in between
the lines, the impact on British society. These accounts more
than complement the various formal official and regimental
histories. They help to fill in the essential experience of
battle, and of course periods of tedium, that were the lot of
the fighting soldier (or airman or matelot) of the Great War. A
few are bald records; most are informative and frequently
amusing and entertaining. Some are quite exceptional in the
range of emotion and/or experience eloquently described. None
can fail to move one.
There are extensive indexes of regiments, cemeteries and memorials, schools and colleges, battles and other events of the Great War. This will enable those with some special interest to quickly identify volumes of value to them.
Publication Date: 30th November 2015
In four volumes:
1914-1919 Works that appeared during the war or were clearly written ready for publication during it. Many valuable works of personal experience appeared during this early period, despite the apparent constraints of censorship.
1920-1940 A period during which was unleashed a large body of material with a characteristic period feel, much outpouring of the heart, self-justification and soul-purging. Anti-war memoirs are balanced by the reminiscences and recollections of those who unashamedly ‘grew’ through their experiences.
1941-1970 An era of changing attitudes to the Great War and one that has shaped the current perception in a huge way. Many people seem incapable of looking back beyond this era. In the immediate aftermath of WW2 not many WW1 memoirs were forthcoming, but as the 1960s and ‘70s progressed many now aged veterans felt, quite rightly, that they had something valid to say, and alongside their considerable output more and more diaries and war letters are discovered and published.
1971-2000 As above, the balance now swinging towards diaries and letters rather than participants themselves recording their experiences. Further volumes are planned covering other areas of Great War literature.