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BOOKS OF WAR POETRY,
FIRST WORLD WAR, CURRENT AND RECENT WARS, WAR LAW, HISTORY, LIVES OF POETS, CRITICAL STUDIES AND DVDs

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Pages of additional information and advice for librarians, students, lecturers, teachers and organisers of peace and remembrance events.

 

Anthology of French poems  book cover image

Published 2016 by Saxon Books.

A fascinating collection of French poems of the First World War sensitively translated into English by Ian Higgins.
102 poems by 27 authors, well known, and unknown.
180 pages large format (octavo).

ISBN 978-0-9528969-9-9

£11-95 (UK)

See link to French War poetry for more information 

 

After 90 years of obscurity a re-discovered poet of the First World War

  Granier Book Cover pic  
     

Cockerels and Vultures - The poems of a re-discovered major French poet of the First World War  -   a book for everyone interested in the poetry of the First World War.

More information about this book on the French poetry of the First World War page.

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Remembrance Poems and Readings

Remembrance Poems book cover

120 pages paperback. Published 2015 by Saxon Books
ISBN 978-0-9528969-6-8 

£11-95 (UK)

More about Remembrance Poems and Readings.

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The German Jewish experience of the First World War
by Peter Applebaum

Loyalty Betrayed book

Around thirty Jewish chaplains served with honour and distinction in the German army during the First World War, providing spiritual care for about 100,000 Jewish, as well as non-Jewish, soldiers, and also Jewish refugees made homeless by the Tsarist army. This is the first book in English detailing the writings of these Jewish chaplains, and includes original translations of memoirs and diaries, annotated with historical, religious and literary notes. In spite of their loyal service, between 1918 and 1941 all of these rabbis died or were driven out of Germany, and at least four were murdered during the Holocaust. The book provides a balanced view of the situation of Jews in the German army on the Western, Eastern and Balkan Fronts and also provides a glimpse into the vanished world of Eastern European Judaism.

Published by Vallentine Mitchell; annotated, hardback edition edition (16 Sep 2013)

406 pages £50-00

About the Author, Peter Appelbaum:

Peter Appelbaum was born in 1947 and educated in South Africa, where he graduated MD. He emigrated to the United States in 1978 and is currently retired as Emeritus Professor of Pathology, and writes books on Jewish military history. German Jewish poetry, which he has translated, can be found on this website.

 

 

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More about Falklands War Poetry . . .

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A collection of international poetry of the
First World War

We Are The Dead book cover pic

We Are The Dead, Poems and Paintings From The Great War, 1914-1918

"We are the Dead" is a superbly illustrated collection of poems  with full colour war paintings of the period. This anthology looks beyond the conventional sources of poetry of the First World War with  poetry from Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia and Canada.
Selected and introduced by David Roberts.
A quality, beautifully illustrated hardback with both popular and rarely seen poetry of the First World War. Published by The Red Horse Press.
 List price £25-00, but cheaper on Amazon. Llink above.

Another collection of international poetry of the
First World War

The Lost Voices of World War One, edited by Tim Cross, 1988.

This volume contains poetry, short stories and extracts from plays by writers from several nations. There are also introductory critical essays and biographical and bibliographical notes. Large format, 400 pages. Paperback.  This book would be difficult to find in bookshops. Prices on Amazon vary between about £10 to about £40 (second hand and new). Click the Amazon link below for more information or to buy.

 

 

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BOOKS AND DVDs

War poetry, anthologies, war poets and the history and issues relating to war and peace recommended by David Roberts.

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Out in the Dark: Poetry of the First World War in Context and with Basic Notes.
Edited by David Roberts. Paperback – 1998.
195 poems by 47 poets. Includes 20 poems by Wilfred Owen and 27 by Siegfried Sassoon. A wealth of background information including basic notes on unusual vocabulary. Illustrated. Ideal for students and the general reader. 190 pages. £10-99.

Click for more information on this website.

Ninth printing.

   
   
Minds at War: the Poetry and Experience of the First World War Edited by David Roberts Paperback – 1996. 250 poems by 80 poets including 27 by Wilfred Owen and 32 by Siegfried Sassoon. Other major poets are well represented.
A wealth of background information.
Illustrated. 400 pages.
£15-99.

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Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen's poetry, Wilfred Owen's letters,
Wilfred Owen's life

Wilfred Owen, who died at the age of twenty-five a few days before the end of the First World War, is widely recognised as the greatest of writers of war poetry in the English language. In all he wrote only about thirty poems and fragments on the subject of war and his reputation rests on less than a dozen of these poems. More about Wilfred Owen books.

Wilfred Owen's Poetry

The Poems of Wilfred Owen (Wordsworth Poetry Library). Contains some 59 poems and fragments by Wilfred Owen including all his most important war poems. Texts are based on the 1931 Edmund Blunden edition of Owen's poetry. Paperback. Not great quality paper.  £3.99

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War Poems of Wilfred Owen by Wilfred Owen. Edited by Jon Stallworthy. Paperback. Each poem is accompanied by detailed notes describing the poem's origin, references, influences and special vocabulary

Link on left.

 

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Wilfred Owen's Letters

Owen letters

Wilfred Owen, Selected Letters, Oxford Paperbacks. Edited by Jon Bell. A selection of Owen's letters from 1902 to1918. - 326 of the original 673 letters, but containing almost all of Owen's letters from the war years. Valuable reading to help understand Owen's life and poetry. Currently (February 2010) only available second hand, at about £70-00.

Wilfred Owen's Life

Wilfred Owen: A Biography, by Jon Stallworthy. Oxford Paperbacks (1974). Professor Stallworthy's groundbreaking study of the life of Wilfred Owen. 330 pages. £15-99.

 

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Wilfred Owen: A New Biography by Dominic Hibberd. Hardcover (2002). Builds on Jon Stallworthy's earlier work. This is a tremendous work of research, insight, and comprehensive understanding by the foremost authority on Wilfred Owen.  Hardcover £25.

 

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Wilfred Owen: A New Biography by Dominic Hibberd. Paperback.(2002). Builds on Jon Stallworthy's earlier work. This is a tremendous work of research, insight, and comprehensive understanding by the foremost authority on Wilfred Owen.   Paperback, £12-99.


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Siegfried Sassoon
If you want to study in some depth the war poetry of Siegfried Sassoon there are two books you need: his war poems and volume 1 of the biography by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.

Sassoon’s war poems
First, the Rupert Hart-Davis collection of 113 war poems – Siegfried Sassoon -  The War Poems. The poems are dated wherever possible and are presented in chronological order. A convenient timeline of Sassoon’s life in the war years is included.  Published by Faber, paperback. £9-99.

Biography of Sassoon
Whilst one of the impressive characteristics of Sassoon’s war poems is their unflinching honesty about his feelings and experiences in the war, his own biographical work of the war period is tedious, guarded, unrevealing and, to my mind, very unsatisfactory. It is far better to read one of the recent biographies of Sassoon.

After a surprisingly long period of time the first full scale biography of Sassoon was published in hardback in 1998. Written by Jean Moorcroft Wilson it came out in two volumes. The one that will matter to most Sassoon war poetry readers is volume 1 which covers the years 1886 to 1918, Siegfried Sassoon, the making of a war poet, a biography, 1886-1918. It provides insight into Sassoon’s complex character, his very wealthy background and his life, friendships,  thoughts and actions including his “wilful defiance of military authority” which resulted in Sassoon being detained in a psychiatric unit in Scotland . 600 pages. Available in paperback. Published by Duckworth  £10-99.

Sassoon, Critical study
Siegfried Sassoon: A Study of the War Poetry, by Patrick Campbell Paperback. £33.50
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Edward Thomas

Two collections of Edward Thomas's poems with notes.

Edward Thomas Collected Poems. Faber. (Paperback)
Introduction by Peter Sacks with a biographical sketch of the writer and also a critical appreciation of Thomas’s poetry.
There are notes on each of the poems (that include the author's comments), Thomas' war diary and four appendices.

Edward Thomas - The Annotated Collected Poems, Oxford. (Paperback) Edited by Edna Longley.
Extensive commentary on poems with references to Thomas’s letters and notebooks.

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Biography of Edward Thomas

Under Storm's Wing (Paperback) Carcanet.
by Thomas's wife, Helen Thomas, and his daughter, Myfanwy Thomas.

Publisher's introduction:
Under Storm's Wing collects all that Helen Thomas (1877-1967) wrote about
the poet Edward Thomas (1878-1917): the celebrated volumes As It Was and
World Without End, her letters to Edward, and separate memoirs of her
meetings with W.H. Davies, D.H.Lawrence, Ivor Gurney, Eleanor Farjeon,
Robert Frost and W.H.Hudson. The book has been assembled by Myfanwy,
Edward's and Helen's youngest daughter. She includes her own enchanted
account of childhood with her father, and the tragedy of his death at the
Battle of Arras in 1917. She adds an appendix of six letters from Robert
Frost to Edward Thomas.

Helen wrote As It Was, the story of her courtship and early marriage,
shortly after Edward's death, and World Without End a few years later. In
the original editions and later reprints fictitious names were used for the
protagonists. In this edition the actual names are restored.

The book provides a brilliant, lasting evocation of one of Britain's best-loved poets.


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Vera Brittain

Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth is one of the outstanding biographies of the First World War. It tells the moving story of the heartbreak suffered by one young woman who saw, close-up, the horrors of the war as she worked in France as a nurse of German and British soldiers wounded in the war. Her best friend, her fiancé and her brother were all killed in the war.

At the end of the war she felt that the politicians who had promoted the war and who signed the peace treaty at the end had betrayed the trust placed in them by young people who suffered so much.



Vera Brittain's sequel, about the years following the war is Testament of Experience.



Vera Brittain DVD

 

Second World War

Geoffrey Scott Mowat was a Malayan Civil servant who became a volunteer. He survived four years of POW captivity. He dedicated the memorial plot for the Malayan Volunteer forces at the National Memorial Arboretum before he died in 2008. This is his story of life at the hands of the Japanese, his escape and survival.

 

The Casualties Were Small,

by May Hill


Wartime Poetry and Diaries of a Lincolnshire Seaside Villager, Chapel St Leonards, near Skegness, 1940-1944, edited by Tom Ambridge and Margaret Ambridge. Illustrated (33 black and white photographs) with index, 117pages, A5 (21.0 x 14.8 cm), high quality paperback. (Ambridge Books, 2009, £8.99) Contact Ambridge Books for further information or to purchase. Ambridge Books. Three of May Hill's poems may be seen on this website.



May Hill Book cover

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Current and recent wars

Palestine/Israel

 Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid
by Jimmy Carter



In this book Jimmy Carter (former President of the United States) argues that "Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Middle East."  See him talking about the issues and this book.

Iraq

Behind the war on terror – Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq
by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
Behind war on terror book cover

How was a country that was supposed to threaten the very existence of western civilisation overcome in so few days in 2003? This book explains how Iraq had been economically and militarily crushed by western powers before that invasion.  
Carefully researched and authenticated account of the abuse and destruction of Iraq through UN sanctions( which flouted the basic principles of the UN) and the relentless and rarely publicised bombing of Iraq over the years prior to the Iraq War  -- actions that were condemned by many high ranking UN officials, distinguished commentators and even the Pope.
An impressive, highly readable, and profoundly important book. About £12-00

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Link to book on Amazon




DVDs

2-disc DVD The Hurt Locker. The war in Iraq. Portrayal of US elite soldiers who disarm bombs in the heat of combat. The film has won numerous awards including Best Film and Best Director awards at the BAFTA's 2010. Also 2009 Directors Guild of America Award to the film’s director, Kathryn Bigelow, for Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film. Plus 6 Oscars, 2010. - Nevertheless some who have seen this film think it is just a superficial view of war celebrating crazy violence.

Blu-ray. The Hurt Locker. The war in Iraq. Portrayal of US elite soldiers who disarm bombs in the heat of combat. The film has won numerous awards including Best Film and Best Director awards at the BAFTA's 2010. Also 2009 Directors Guild of America Award to the film’s director, Kathryn Bigelow, for Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film. Plus 6 Oscars, 2010. But see above comment.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is Michael Moore's brilliant investigation into George Bush, his disastrous and immoral foreign policies and the invasion of Iraq. With interviews, documentary footage they would never show on our supposedly free media, and humour too. Riveting, moving, entertaining, and above all truthful and important. Everyone interested in the Iraq War issue should see this double DVD.

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The cost of the war in Iraq

The Three Trillion Dollar War  by Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

Published by W. W. Norton (USA) 2008 Hardback.   192 pages

Joseph Stiglitz won the Nobel Prize for Economics in2001 and was Chief Economic Advisor the World Bank. Linda Bilmes is a professor at Harvard where she specialises in public policy, budgeting and public finance.

The book examines the full cost of the Iraq War, including many hidden costs such as the enormous expenditures that will be required to care for very large numbers of wounded veterans.

Numerous US government studies including that of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office have suggested costs approaching those estimated by these authors.

Available in paperback and hardback.

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Books on how certain countries have BEHAVED IN RELATION TO international law

After the Second World War the US and UK were leaders in the establishment of international laws to prevent wars of aggression and to protect human rights. Unfortunately both countries have blatantly set aside international laws and subverted the United Nations to condone acts of aggression. I recommend two books (plus Behind the War on Terror, mentioned above) for insights into this topic.

Killing Hope - US and CIA Interventions since World War II
by William Blum.
This gives, in considerable detail and from publicly available records, an account of the US Government's behaviour around the world from China and North Korea in the 1940s to the bombing of Iraq in 2003.

Comments:
"Far and away the best book on the topic" - Noam Chomsky.
"I am impressed. It is a valuable contribution." - Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the United States.
"A very valuable book. . . extremely impressive." - AJ Langguth, former New York Times bureau chief.

 

Amazon link

 Lawless World - America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules by Philippe Sands.
This account of the abuse of international law by the US under George Bush and the UK under Tony Blair is by a leading international lawyer. A richly informative, revealing and passionate book describing both the failings of international law, its successes and the profound need for it.

 

Web of Deceit by Mark Curtis

This book details the true story of Britain's shameful role in world affairs and parallels to some extent the book by William Blum on US foreign policy (mentioned previously). Above all it is a story of hypocrisy and misrepresentation with successive UK governments telling the British people and the world how keen they are to support international law and the United Nations whilst very often doing exactly the opposite.

One measure of this opposition to the UN is the number of occasions it has gone against the general will of the UN Security Council by using its power to veto decisions. Mark Curtis comments, "Open defiance of the UN is a permanent feature of British foreign policy. In the last twenty-five years of the cold war, 1965-19990, Britain cast twice as many vetoes in the Security Council as the Soviet Union - twenty-seven compared to thirteen, mainly to support the racist regimes in south Africa and Rhodesia." (P 10.)

Comment on Web of Deceit


"Scrupulously, relentlessly . . .  rescues the historical and documentary record from a web of distortion and self-serving illusion." -  Noam Chomsky.

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