Using the veterans' own words and photographs, the book brings to life a mixture of their excitement of embarkation for France, their unbound optimism and courage, the agony of the trenches, and numbing fear of going over the top. The fight for survival, the long ordeal of those who were wounded and the ever present grief caused by appalling loss and waste of life make for compelling reading. The veterans give us first hand accounts of stark honesty, as they describe in many cases more freely than ever before about experiences which have lived with them for over 80 years.
Richard van Enden has written a number of highly successful books about the First World War, largely based on oral history. His books include: Veterans, the Last Survivors of the Great War, 1998. Prisoners of the Kaiser, 2000, The Trench (accompanying the BBC2 series, 2001), All Quiet on the Home Front, 2003, Boy Soldiers, 2005 (to accompany Channel 4 documentary 'Britain's Boy Soldiers'). His latest Tommies is to be published by Pen and Sword in Autumn 2005.