Book group review September 2016

The following books were suggested by our Reading Group members at the September meeting held at The Bowes Museum.

“Brushes and Bayonets” by Lucinda Gosling

A look at the First World War through the eyes and creativity of various illustrators, artists and cartoonists of the time. Ranging through all aspects of the war from troop recruitment to the Armistice, the book includes many beautiful illustrations of adverts, posters and postcards. They encouraged pathos from the readers of the many publications, magazines and journals of the day, employing the tactics of satire, humour, sadness to convey their message

“Parades End” by Ford Madox Ford

A book set in England and the Western Front, it depicts the effect of the First World War on a group of characters and their social, moral, personal and political experiences. Written by an author who himself served as an officer in the Army, it captures the essence of the pre-war build up and post war period as well as documenting the conflict itself and the impact on the lives of his characters. The novel was dramatized by the BBC in 2012, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Rebecca Hall.

“A Study in Murder” by Robert Ryan

A book billed as a thriller, the author uses the device of ‘fiction within fiction’ by taking as his central character one Dr Watson, more regularly featured as the fictional investigative partner to Sherlock Holmes. The book builds around Dr Watson’s experiences in a POW camp in Germany and involve the murder of a fellow POW, escape plots and investigations by Watson to find out the truth.

“Forgotten Victory – First World War Myths and Realities” by Gary Sheffield

Military historian, Gary Sheffield, places many of the myths surrounding the First World War in the true historical context of the conflict. Classed as a revisionist book, it de-bunks some of the myths about the conflict, able to take advantage of more archive material coming to light to give different perspectives on long-established views.

“The Poppy” by Nicholas Saunders

Looking at the symbolism of the poppy in Egyptian times through to the opium poppy struggles during the Afghanistan conflict, this book looks at the history of the poppy. Poppies influenced art and culture, medical remedies and poetry as well as being taken as the most popular symbol of Remembrance after the end of the First World War. The parts played by American Moina Michael and French woman Anna Guerin in the use of the poppy as a remembrance symbol are covered in detail, and through the book, we read how the poppy has been ever present in history as both decorative symbol, narcotic, and remembrance token.

We look forward to meeting again on Tuesday 18th October at 2.30pm and would welcome any new readers to join us.