Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Great War by Dawn Knox

This little volume contains one hundred stories, each told in exactly one hundred words, written one hundred years after they might have taken place.
They are naturally of great interest to me as I am also writing in this era. Although my own historical work is set mainly in the 1940s and World War II, much of my work has connections with that time.

The one hundred word story requires some delicate craft. The whole story arc must be contained there, and arguably there should be a three act structure as well. Dawn Knox manages this demanding task very well.
She has clearly invested in a great deal of research and sustains the variety. There are some really heart-breaking stories such of that of the young man facing a firing squad and another one about the young men who make up that firing squad. One young man, who has been sent back to Blighty because of a hand injury, is constantly accosted by the young women of the White Flower Movement. There are lighter-hearted stories too: the young man who grumbles because his parcel from home is constantly delivered to another man with same name, the man who survives but misses his pals after the war, the Land Girl who appreciates working in the fresh air instead of in a munitions factory.

This great little book looks at so many different aspects of the Great War. The short extracts make it very easy to digest and always tell a very human story. A great resource for anyone wishing to learn about this terrible war.