My Easter present this year was “Six Weeks: The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War” by John Lewis-Stempel. I don’t really like chocolate, and this seemed a far better result than an Easter egg which I pass on to the kids a week after Easter Sunday!
I’d glanced at Six Weeks on Amazon a month or so back and was intrigued but didn’t really have any great desire to get a copy. However, I had a closer look at it shortly before Easter at a local bookshop and was quite impressed.
There’s a selection of interesting photos, the contents look clearly laid out and there seems to be a very extensive use of original sources, first-person accounts, diaries and letters. Flicking through the chapters, the books covers Joining Up, Training, the Journey to the Front Line, Trench Life, Leadership, Battle, Rest and Leave, Wounds and Hospitalization and Legacies. To me that looked pretty comprehensive. There’s a good bibliography, 19 pages of notes and a decent index.
I’ll let you have a review once I’ve worked my way through it, hopefully a little later this week.
You might be wondering why I’m telling you this! I really enjoy reading on blogs about what other people are reading about, and whether what they’ve chosen to read lives up to expectations. I also thought that Six Weeks may give a few insights into the life of a junior officer on the Western Front who plays a big part in games of Through the Mud and the Blood, my rules of preference for our Great War games. It should be interesting to compare what Mt Lewis-Stempel says about the Subalterns. Lieutenants and Capitains of the Great War compared to other, perhaps more familiar, writers like Richard Holmes of Tommy fame.
And what better occasion to start a good read than the fine weather of a Royal Wedding and Bank holiday weekend!
In addition to Six Weeks and some other jobs around the house and garden, I also want to try and finish my second platoon of late war British figures for Through the Mud and Blood. These have been languishing in a box for a while now. Funny how the sunshine coming out gets you motivated! If I can get these chaps finished by next weekend, I’ll be really chuffed.