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Back To the Front an Accidental Historian Walks the Trenches of World War I


Back To the Front an Accidental Historian Walks the Trenches of World War I Cover

ISBN13: 9780380731671
ISBN10: 0380731673
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

World War I has left as deep a scar on the imaginative landscape of our century as it

has on the land where it was fought. Nowhere is that more evident than on the

Western Front, a narrow swath of land in which millions of lives were lost. Believing

that "history is too important to be left to the professionals," journalist Stephen

O'Shea set out to walk the 450 miles through no-man's-land to discover for his generation

the meaning of the war. As his walk progresses, O'Shea recreates the shocking battles of the Western Front, and offers an impassioned perspective on the war, the

state of the land, and the cultivation of memory. An evocative fusion of past and present, BACKT TO THE FRONT will resonate, for all who read it, as few other books on war ever have.

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Gold Gato, January 3, 2012 (view all comments by Gold Gato)
World War I has ended up like a sports team that makes it to the championship game, then loses to World War II. Close, but no trophy. The Great War has always intrigued me, ever since I first visited London and saw the many poppies strewn about the war monuments. It took me a bit to realize it all started with the first World War, which was simply hellacious, but more centered on soldier annihilation than on civilian.

This book knocks off a couple of birds with one throw: Provide a history of the Great War while also providing a travelogue on the French and Belgian towns along the great trenches that defined the battle lines. In my opinion, the book succeeds on both counts. Suddenly, the strange reasoning for the start of the war is understandable, while various towns are traversed by the author.

The reader is constantly getting a history lesson while learning that shards of old artillery can still be found along the route, due to the massive damage done via weaponry. In a way, it's a bit frightening, but when it gets a bit depressing (Europe did its best to destroy itself), the author zooms back to travel writing and the reader is rescued from thoughts of war, while thinking about that fantastic meal the author is describing.

Book Season = Winter
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Product Details

Oshea, Stephen
Harper Perennial
O'Shea, Stephen
World War, 1914-1918
Edition Description:
Trade PB
8.02x5.25x.61 in. .46 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » World War I

Back To the Front an Accidental Historian Walks the Trenches of World War I Used Trade Paper
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