Spartacus Review

Volume 25: 18th October, 2008

First World War

Title: Famous 1914-1918

Author: Richard Van Emden & Victor Piuk


Publisher: Pen & Sword

Price: £25.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: George Mallory


"Famous" tells the Great War stories of as many as twenty of Britain's most respected, best known and even notorious celebrities. They include politicians, actors, writers, an explorer, a sculptor and even a murderer. The generation that grew up in the late 19th Century enlisted enthusiastically in the defence of the country. Many would become household names such as Basil Rathbone, the definitive Sherlock Holmes, A A Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh, and Arnold Ridley who found fame and public affection as the gentle and genial Godfrey, in Dad's Army. From politicians such as Harold Macmillan and Winston Churchill to writers including J B Priestley, and J R R Tolkein, from sculptors like Henry Moore, to composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, their fame and influence continue even into the 21st Century. The authors Richard van Emden and Vic Piuk have discovered the exact locations where these celebrities saw action. They tell the story of how J R R Tolkein led his men over the top on the Somme, where C S Lewis was wounded and invalided home, and how Basil Rathbone won the Military Cross for a trench raid (while dressed as a tree).