Revisiting WW-I
Debashis Chakraborty
TRUE STORIES FROM WORLD WARI by Peter Hepplewhite Macmillan, New Delhi, 2014, 274 pp., 299
November 2014, volume 38, No 11

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

—Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.

Wilfred Owen from ‘Anthem for a Doomed Youth’

In these lines Owen captures the monumental losses of a generation. In the four years of the War about 10,300 people died everyday for four and half years. Yet many who lived to tell their tales made places like Somme, Flanders and Gallipoli enter the domain of popular mythology across the world. There are no veterans from the War alive today; the last sailor Claude Choules died in 2011. In this year of centenary celebrations it is apt that Macmillan decided to reprint True Stories from World War I, first printed in 2003. Peter Hepplewhite, the author who is an ex-History teacher claims in his preface that he ‘tries in a small way to join the commemorations with twelve cracking tales of bravery and endurance from that remarkable era’ (p. viii).

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