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Last Post: The Final Word from Our First World War Soldiers (2006)

by Max Arthur

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1904113,953 (3.83)7
FORGOTTEN VOICES OF THE GREAT WAR was the surprise bestseller of 2002, selling over 60,000 copies in hardback alone. The formula was simple: Max Arthur interviewed some of the 30 surviving British soldiers from the First World War and combined their stories with other interviews in the Imperial War Museum and various private collections. LAST POST is very consciously the last word from the handful of WWI survivors left alive in 2004. When they die, our final human connection with the First World War will be broken: after this book, we will have only recordings or diaries. We will never be able to ask a question of someone who was there.… (more)
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Being unfamiliar with much about the WWI, the last great war, I was eager to hear of stories from the mouths of those few soldiers still left to tell the tale. This 2005 book is a narrative account of those few British soldiers still alive and able to relay their firsthand accounts and stories of an era that will perish when they do. Approximately 20 men, all over 100 and some 106 and 107 years old tell of a different time and place. They share a brief personal account of their lives from birth, growing up, joining up to fight and living out their later years. If you are interested in gaining an understanding of the historical period of the turning into the 20th century and the war years, this will be an interesting read. It was a bittersweet read, in that the reader can be quite certain, all of these men are now deceased.

Marsha Y. / Marathon County Public Library
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  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
This is a 2006 compilation of reminiscences by some of the last surviving First World War veterans. Twenty were still alive when the book was started in 2004 but all but four had passed away by the time it was finished. These were then the key years when that generation nearly completely passed away. The interviews are varied, some quite long and emotionally moving, but quite a number shorter and very matter of fact. People's memories differ and some people are just better at telling their story.There are many commonalities - the killing of lice in the trenches by burning a candle along the seams of one's clothes recurs frequently. But there are many differences in their later lives and in their attitudes towards their experiences - many hate war now, but others joined the armed forces as regulars after the war. An interesting collection and it is sobering to think that this generation has now entirely passed on. 4/5 ( )
  john257hopper | Nov 13, 2012 |
What struck me most about the stories was that for most of them the veteran had died by the time that the book was published. So there is a strong sense that the author, Max Arthur, got in there in the nick of time. A delay of a year, and many of these fantastic stories would have been lost for ever.

It's one heck of a book. ( )
  greydesk | Mar 23, 2007 |
An excellent read which brought tears to my eyes more than once. What comes across is the effect the war had on these men; nearly 100 years later these are still painfully raw memories. The stories of their civilian lives both before and after the war are every bit as evocative. Highly recommended. ( )
  samgb | Feb 8, 2007 |
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FORGOTTEN VOICES OF THE GREAT WAR was the surprise bestseller of 2002, selling over 60,000 copies in hardback alone. The formula was simple: Max Arthur interviewed some of the 30 surviving British soldiers from the First World War and combined their stories with other interviews in the Imperial War Museum and various private collections. LAST POST is very consciously the last word from the handful of WWI survivors left alive in 2004. When they die, our final human connection with the First World War will be broken: after this book, we will have only recordings or diaries. We will never be able to ask a question of someone who was there.

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