I'm looking for those special people that love to read non-fiction memoirs. I have one that will draw you in and leave you begging for more. It is based on a World War One journal written by my grandfather. Penny Freeman reviewed it and gave it five stars. For more information check out my blog: The Great Promise or my website 100 year anniversary

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I like historical memoirs, but, not counting the more famous memoirs, I'm usually looking for settings or perspectives which are less well-known and spark my interest. The main western frontlines of WWI do not belong to that category (although I might change my mind one day, you never know).

Less well-known: The Great Promise contains the entire contents of my grandfather's war journal, which is certainly not known to anyone except the few that have read my manuscript, such as Penny Freeman.

Why should you review this manuscript? Because it isn't a diary, it is the most compelling, tell it like it is, true life experiences of one man who served in the 40th artillery battery of the Royal Field Artillery. 

Excerpt:

October 9th

This day was going to be well-remembered. During the morning things were a little more quiet than usual. We were sitting around the guns. I had left my telephone beneath one of the gun limbers.

We were having a feast of Bully Beef[1] and potatoes (potatoes did not come our way often), when a battery of German artillery found us with shrapnel shells.

The first round burst directly over our number three gun, which was just a short distance from us. Needless to say we all scattered. Bramwell and I ran towards the gun limber where I left the field phone. George was to my right when I heard the shell burst and saw him go down.

I dove under the limber to phone my chum Collins, while two gunners dragged Bramwell to the shelter of the limber. It was just seconds after they delivered him when three more shells exploded and the two gunners went down.

Collins came running, and he and I did what we could for poor Bramwell but it was useless. Bullets from bursting shells hailed down on the limber as I held him in my arms. Collins and I expected to be hit any second but the limber saved us.

After the shelling stopped we removed poor Bramwell; it was an unpleasant sight to see a chum’s brains by one’s side.


 

I understand this has a personal connection for you. I added a response because I wanted to show that I had taken a look at it and give some feedback (silence is never great). The excerpt you show me is exactly what is already well-known about the horrible warfare of that frontline, with plenty of movie-adaptations and novelizations. Maybe not the same as a memoir, but the essence remains the same.

I would beg to differ.  You speak of broad generalizations.  It sounds very much to me like you're saying, <shrug> so what else is new?  This one man suffered no more than any of the soldiers in the war.  That may very well be true, but no one else suffered or experienced his unique story.  It's important that we care about the unique stories so we never forget the individual costs and tragedies of war.  If we don't, we become like the generals and politicians who destroy thousands and millions of lives with the sweep of a hand, destruction with repercussions for generation after generation.

I believe any book that reminds us of one man and the price he paid to fight a useless, meaningless war is important to us all.

Nowhere I'm saying that this story is not interesting in the general sense. I do hold great value in the memoirs of common men in historic events. It is just my personal interest that is not taken with this particular memoir because it is something I already know plenty about, although it has not been a memoir from which I've learned it. But I did read novelizations and watch documentaries and movies which all took time and effort to show how horrible this war was and all depicted scenes as described in the excerpt.

I hope this explanation clarifies what I wrote earlier. I know quite a bit about history (I dare call myself an amateur historian). I do not just read historical novels and memoirs, but also academic books on specific times in history from different perspectives. Because of that I wanted to give a short comment, not turn this into an unintended discussion.

Check out the first installment of my interview with Rick about the writing of The Great Promise: http://amindwandering.blogspot.com/2012/07/author-interview-rick-co...   This is definitely something you'll want to read.

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