Spartacus Review

Volume 18: 12th May, 2008

First World War

Title: The Faces of World War I

Author: Max Arthur


Publisher: Octopus

Price: £25.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Chronology of First World War


In "The Faces of World War I" Max Arthur has delved into the superb photographic archives of the Imperial War Museum and other important collections to unearth remarkable, never before seen images that, when married with his contemporary eye-witness accounts, truly bring a unique perspective to the First World War. "The Faces of World War I" charts the changes that took place in Edwardian Britain and continental Europe following the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 that led to the outbreak of war. It paints a startling portrait of the recruitment and militarization of an entire generation of young men, beginning with the British Expeditionary Forces entry into warfare in 1914. Max Arthur tells the story in words and pictures of this newly conscripted army through their five years of slaughter and suffering. As well as the British troops and civilians, we also see pictures of German troops and their own suffering, in a journey that follows the armies right through to their return home or, in some cases, their tragic end on the battlefield. This photographic milestone brilliantly conveys not only the heroism, but also the universal horror, futility, humour and boredom of warfare. From the front-line troops and their daily dice with death, to the support lines, communications, enlistment, training and propaganda. Every aspect of the soldiers life is covered here, in this brilliant collection of images that brings the Great War to life in a way never done before.

Title: We Will Not Fight

Author: Will Ellsworth-Jones


Publisher: Aurum Press

Price: £18.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: No Conscription Fellowship


In June 1916 Philip Brocklesby, a young second lieutenant just arrived in Boulogne, slipped away from his regiment in a desperate attempt to see his brother who had been imprisoned nearby. But it wasn't the enemy who were holding Bert, but his own army. Bert, along with 34 other conscientious objectors, had been court marshalled for refusing to fight, and was waiting to hear if he would be sentenced to death. The meeting was happy and affectionate, but then both brothers knew it may be their last.Through the amazing story of the Brocklesby family, Will Ellsworth-Jones explores the history of conscientious objection in World War I, charting the experiences of the men who took a stand despite being stigmatised, vilified and facing death. This amazing book also considers the men's lasting legacy. Without the courage of men such as Bert who were prepared to die for their beliefs, we wouldn't have the freedom to voice our beliefs and protest at our government's involvement in conflict. At the end of this touching book, the reader will ask themselves whether they would have had the courage to fight in the trenches, but more importantly whether they would have had the courage not to fight. Packed with unpublished letters, diaries, memoir extracts and oral interviews, "We Will Not Fight" is a fascinating look at conscientious objection in WWI, and its legacy.It explores Conscientious Objection in WWI through an extraordinary personal story of two British brothers - one who was prepared to die fighting; the other who was prepared to die refusing to fight. It contains well-researched and intensely moving history full of unpublished diaries, letters, trial notes and memoir extracts. Offering a unique perspective on an ever popular period of history, especially in light of recent protest over Iraq, this book is ideal for review and media coverage.