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Our War: Real stories of Commonwealth soldiers during World War II

Christopher Somerville

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, Warfare & defence

75 years on from the end of the second world war, a unique collection from veteran Commonwealth voices who tell how the war changed their lives irreversibly and blew the British Empire apart.

'Vivid reading' Telegraph

Never heard before real stories of soldiers who fought in WW2

'Extraordinary ...If they had not made our war their war also, victory might not have come in 1945' DAILY TELEGRAPH

In this powerful and moving narrative, Christopher Somerville skilfully links personal testimonies to present an epic which embraces comedy and tragedy, pride and degradation, close comradeship and stark racial prejudice, devotion to the benign Mother Country and a burning desire to see the back of her.

Many of the veterans had never previously talked of their experiences, even to close loved ones. They cover such topics as attitudes to Britain before and after the war, why Commonwealth citizens offered to fight, and how some volunteers were inspired by their wartime service while others were thoroughly disillusioned. The result is a rare and faithful memoir to the five million Commonwealth citizens who fought for the Allies and the 170,000 who died or went missing.

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Praise for Our War: Real stories of Commonwealth soldiers during World War II

  • Vivid reading. Knowing that some of the fighting in the Burmese jungle was hand-to-hand is one thing; reading what it was like to take part in a bayonet charge is quite another - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

  • But for Somerville, many of the stories in this fascinating book would have been lost with the deaths of their tellers. This is the first time some of these men and women have spoken about their experiences - EYE ON TUESDAY

  • An extraordinary kaleidoscope of the last Imperial experience ... the Africans, whom the British paid miserably even when they were in the front line in Burma, are humblingly generous in their recollections ... If they had not made our war their war also, victory might not have come in 1945 - DAILY TELEGRAPH

  • A readable, revealing book ... This is an inspiring story: politicians and generals make the decisions but it is the ordinary people who make history - THE AGE, MELBOURNE

  • An engrossing, well told story of terror, extraordinary courage and friendships forged for life. And humour. Somerville wisely gives his interviewees free rein to show that even in the most frightening incidents, people can still raise a smile - HUDDERSFIELD EXAMINER

  • The book says that Commonwealth veterans may feel exasperation, affection or disillusion for this 'boxed and foxed old Dame' named Britain, but never indifference - NZ HERALD

  • OUR WAR is based on interviews with over eighty men and women from all corners of the globe who participated and shared some notion of what it was to be a member of the Commonwealth at war. It is a beautifully produced book ... enabling so many different voices from the Commonwealth to enrich our knowledge of the experiences of war - TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

  • There are biographies and reminiscences of heroes and villains but this is the first report by ordinary people without illusion or love of war ... These ordinary men and women have brought out some old dreams and nightmares which many of us can match with small packets of faded letters precious in their very unordinary stories - CONTEMPORARY REVIEW

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