‘Moving, powerful, important’ – MICHAEL MORPURGO
‘A classic of its kind’ – WILLIAM BOYD
A larger-than-life infantry officer’s letters written from the Western Front to his West End actress wife from 1915 to 1917, visually presented with images of all the letters as well as pictures and detailed notes about the people and objects and events he encounters, showing how personal and family and war history connects through to today.
Not only are the letters almost completely uncensored and full of incident described with directness and bluff humour, but the people mentioned along the way give a full spectrum of supporting characters, from Charles Bartlett’s actress wife and their friends on the West End stage, to soldiers noted for their heroism or eccentricity or insubordination or complicated love lives (or combinations of all of these), to men avoiding conscription, to spies, royalty and a newspaper magnate.
The letters give a portrait of a man, a marriage, and a time of traumatic uncertainty. Charles Bartlett is not an exemplary hero, but his flaws make him all the more human as he struggles through leading his Battalion at the Battles of Loos and the Somme and the frights and labours of life on the Western Front.
A full-colour high-quality book with 527 vintage & contemporary pictures, images of 341 letters, and 26 maps.