This is a short book based on the letters written between 1915 and 1916 by an officer serving with the 1/4th Gordon Highlanders. Second Lieutenant Down wrote regularly to his girlfriend/fiancee throughout his time in France, letters which were published in 1917 after he was wounded and discharged from the army. Cecil Down is a superb writer, but more than that he has a natural wit that translates easily to the page, making this one of the most enjoyable books I have read on the war. I have chosen this book because it is so different from anything else I have read. He captures life in France with great accuracy while remaining steadfastly upbeat and humorous. Nevertheless, there are moments when he is serious, and that makes his words poignant and attention-grabbing. Norman went to France in February 1915, serving continuously until July 1916. He died on 14 March 1984 aged 91
RICHARD VAN EMDEN graduated from Newcastle University in 1988, and obtained an MA from Reading University in the following year. After working as a journalist he became a freelance writer and researcher. Having worked on several historically-based television series, he wrote his first book, Tickled to Death to Go which he has followed up with several highly acclaimed and commercially successful titles, including Britain's Last Tommies, Boy Soldiers, The Last Fighting Tommy, The Quick and the Dead, Meeting the Enemy and Tommy's Ark.