Forgotten Voices of the Great War : A New History of WWI in the Words of the Men and Women Who Were There, Paperback

Forgotten Voices of the Great War : A New History of WWI in the Words of the Men and Women Who Were There Paperback

5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


In 1960, the Imperial War Museum began a momentous and important task.

A team of academics, archivists and volunteers set about tracing WWI veterans and interviewing them at length in order to record the experiences of ordinary individuals in war.

The IWM aural archive has become the most important archive of its kind in the world.

Authors have occasionally been granted access to the vaults, but digesting the thousands of hours of footage is a monumental task.

Now, forty years on, the Imperial War Museum has at last given author Max Arthur and his team of researchers unlimited access to the complete WWI tapes.

These are the forgotten voices of an entire generation of survivors of the Great War.

The resulting book is an important, unique and compelling history of WWI in the words of those who experienced it.

This is a classic for years to come.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages, 16
  • Publisher: Ebury Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9780091888879



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I read this book over quite a considerable period of time. It is not something I feel you can simply pick up and read from cover to cover. The book is in chronological order, for each year of the First World War. I read each year at a time and then took a break in between. By doing this I felt I was giving myself time to reflect on all of the entries that I read. The book is order chronologically (as I've said) and with notes and entries from a vast range of people involved in, and affected by, the First World War. Within in each year, there are sections for different battles, thereby keeping all linked entries together. The people whose information has been used range from nurses to factory workers, soldiers to commanders, children to wives - and from many different nationalities. This makes it a highly informative and educational read - giving a real insight into the lives of all touched by the Great War. The Imperial War Museum has collated this material over many years and whittled down the thousands and thousands of notes, letters and diaries in order to produce this excellent collection. The photographs they have used complement the written text and further enhance understanding of what happened and how the people involved must have felt. Some of the entries will disgust you, some will entertain you; all of them with make you think. The ones that really stuck in my mind were from soldiers coming home for leave and how their families and friends reacted to them. After this, it was the last entries that made me reflect on how the soldiers in particular were feeling - one day they were fighting the next they weren't. It must have led to a feeling of loss, in a strange way.

Review by

A moving collection of extracts from taped interviews with WWI veterans recorded by the Imperial War Museum since 1972. These are organised by year so one can get a feeling for the overall flow of events; each reminiscence is cross-referenced by author, so that you can follow an individual witness's story if you choose. A mixture of horrific, moving, heroic, degrading and depressing memories. Coming through it all is a feeling by veterans that no-one who had not lived through their experiences could understand what they had been through.