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My Brother’s War by David Hill

September 13, 2012

My Brother’s War by David Hill. Pub. Puffin Books. 2012.

Welcome back David Hill, his first book for some time and I can see why it has been so long. This novel is one of the finest researched books on World War One that I have read. In fact I would go as far to say that it is some of the finest writing I have read from Davis Hill and I have read just about all his novels.

It tells the story of two brothers who take a different attitude to World war One and to war in general. The elder brother William feels he is honour bound to fight and preserve freedoms threatened by the evil Hun. Younger brother Edmund takes a loftier stance and becomes a CO or Conscientious Objector.

Both brothers have it tough but none so alarming as the treatment dished out by the military and general citizens to Edmund the CO. Both brothers have cause to reconsider their initial reactions to the war.

To cut a short story long Edmund is sent to France in spite of his beliefs and is sent to the front line suffering all manner of indignities. William takes the easier coarse to the barbarious war and the atrocious conditions in the trenches and appalling decision making of his British masters.

I have read no finer description of fighting in the rain, the mud, the blood, the panic, the smell, the rats,  the weaponry, the stupidity, the comradeship  and the tactics of trench warfare during World War One as the bloated bodies pile higher.

The novel is so powerful that David Hill can be excused the slight sentimentality of the ending but then again soldiers did protect those at home  with chipper letters from the hell that is war.

Secondary and young adult in appeal.

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