This is the autobiography of the man who has seen all British military history unfold in front of his eyes: the British soldier. What was it like to be there? Only the soldier on the ground can tell us.
From Agincourt to Waterloo, from Dunkirk to the Gulf War, and everywhere in between, one man has served in all these battles. This is the story of Britain at war from the perspective of that man. It is the autobiography of the British soldier.
In a comprehensive series of first-hand accounts, this anthology offers a huge variety of views on the experience of war: from a letter written by Oliver Cromwell to the Speaker of Parliament, to a First World War's soldier's last letter home to his son, and a powerful description of what it was like to be on the Sir Galahad when it was hit by a missile in the Falklands conflict of the 80s, right up to life as a soldier on the ground in Basra.
Winner of impossible victories, cannon fodder for the Western Front, thin khaki line against Hitler - wherever and whenever, the British soldier has done his duty - and more. This is his story.
[A] thoughtful compilation... One is struck by the breadth of suffering it covers and the sheer quantity of human blood that has been spilled on the earth... The letters "to be opened only in the event of my death" are almost unbearably moving - Guardian
John Lewis-Stempel is an award-winning writer predominantly known for his books on nature and history. His many books include the best-selling Six Weeks, about British frontline officers in the First World War, described by the Literary Review as 'the most moving book I have ever read on the First World War' and by actor Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey) as 'the best research resource ever', The Autobiography of the British Soldier and The War Behind the Wire, about the life, death and glory of British PoWs in the First World War. His books have been published in languages as diverse as Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese and have sold more than a million copies. He has two degrees in history, writes books under the pen name Jon E. Lewis, is married with two children, and also farms in Herefordshire.