First World War Diaries & Related Interesting Books…

I purchase most of my books online primarily because I’m looking for specific collectable editions, but also because my two local independent bookstores couldn’t compete when Canada’s largest bookseller moved into the area.  These things happen, but I always feel just a little guilty when I suggest someone pick up a copy of some book there.

That said, I have absolutely no qualms about enthusiastically scrounging the clearance tables at Chapters.  For the last few months, I’ve taken to skipping the in-store experience and browsing their online bargain section.  Despite the unfriendly setup of the website, there are some prizes I figure you’d be interested in if you found this blog.

The first is For Love and Courage: The Letters of Lieutenant Colonel E.W. Hermon from the Western Front 1914-17.  Edited by Anne Nason.  Hardcover, illustrated boards (the dust wrapper resembles an addressed envelope and only covers the lower half of the book).  367 Pages.

A review by a serving Colonel in the Canadian Artillery can be read here.  Highly recommended.

$9.99 at Chapters.  Direct link here.


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The second book is Sapper Martin: The Secret Great War Diary of Jack Martin.  Edited Richard Van Emden.  Hardcover.  288 pages.

Full of insight and marvellous detail, there’s a fantastic story about an officer that gave his dog field punishment No. 1.  Review and extracts here.

$7.99 at Chapters.  Direct link here.



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The third is Drawing Fire: The Diary of a Great War Soldier and Artist, by Private Len Smith.  Hardcover.  383 Pages.

This book is extraordinary.  Every page is thick, art-quality paper, is full of beautiful illustrations, whimsical marginalia, photos and insightful commentary.  Brilliant.  Really, really brilliant.  You should have a copy.

Review and extracts here.

$9.99 at Chapters.  Direct link here.


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The fourth is The Great Silence 1918-1920: Living in the Shadow of the Great War.  By Juliet Nicolson.  Hardcover.    302 pages.

Full disclosure: I haven’t read this one yet, but it looks fascinating.  Review here.

$6.99 at Chapters.  Direct link here.



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The fifth is The Battle of Loos.  By Philip Warner.  Hardcover.  245 Pages.

I haven’t read this one either, but this is a Pen and Sword publication, and I’ve never been disappointed with any of their books.  I get their catalogues sent to me, and I’ve been eyeballing this and several other titles for awhile.  If this sort of thin tickles your fancy, Chapters currently has about a dozen Pen and Sword titles in their bargain books section, mostly on the Crimea & Waterloo.

$9.99 at Chapters.  Direct link here.

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The final book I’ll suggest is Shots From the Front: The British Soldier 1914-1918.  By Richard Holmes.  Hardcover.  224 Pages.

This is not quite a coffee table book, coming in at about 10″x 7.5″.  You know the type.  Some good shots that I hadn’t seen before, but a lot of content you absolutely had seen before.  The price was right.

$12.99 at Chapters.  Direct link here.

If you spend more than 25.oo you get free shipping, and if you got suckered into buying one of their loyalty cards, you get a further 10% off.  The diaries above are really first rate; I can’t imagine anyone interested in the First World War not enjoying them.

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