The Story of World War One

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BRASSEY, Richard The Story of World War One Orion, 2014 24pp $12.99 pbk+e ISBN 9781444010855 SCIS 1678982

This publication coincides with the 100 year commemoration of the conflict of 1914-1918, capturing well the events and atmosphere of the times that lead to a war on a scale never seen before and that was to change the notion of warfare.  Through text and illustrations Brassey explores the genesis of the war, life in the trenches, weapons and war machines and the role played by women during the conflict, leading to greater equality in its aftermath with the right to vote.  He also looks at the Spanish flu, the pandemic that was to kill more people than the war itself.

Despite its grim subject matter Brassey infuses his story with interesting detail and anecdotes; we learn that German zeppelins were made from cow intestines, the same material as sausage skins, leading to the banning of sausages in Germany.  On Christmas Day, 1914 the German and British soldiers stopped fighting so a game of football could be played in no man’s land.  A great introduction for children into the underlying influences and experience of war and its legacy.  Suitable for children 8+.

reviewed by Meredith Capp

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