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Anonymous, A GENERAL'S LETTERS TO HIS SON ON OBTAINING HIS COMMISSION. First Edition. VG. Some slight edgewear & slightly bumped corners. Paper of covers torn slightly on top & bottom edge & bottom corners. Otherwise clean & tight. Preface by General H.H. Smith-Dorrien. Letters, of a British general with 38 years service to his officer son who has joined his father's old battalion. Letters date from 1916-17, and cover such topics as: On Joining the Battalion; On Discipline; On Billets and Care of the Men; On the Art of Command; On Training; On What We Are Fighting For; On Facing Death, etc. 111 pages.


Bairnsfather, Bruce, BULLETS & BILLETS. GP Putnam's Sons, 1917, VG. Eighth Impression. Small inked note on page listing author's previous works. Very minor fraying to cover edge in several spots. Minor fraying to bottom edge of spine. Covers & spine bright. Full-page plates & intertextual drawings. Ads at rear of book. 286 pages.
~~~ War memoirs of British Army's most famous cartoonist in World War I.


click to enlarge Bairnsfather, Capt Bruce. Edited by Valmai & Tonie Holt. THE BEST OF FRAGMENTS FROM FRANCE. NEW copy, trade paperback. (Pen and Sword, 2010). 6x9, 150 b&w cartoons. 160 pages.

~~~ Bruce Bairnsfather (BB) was the most famous cartoonist of the First World War and his soldier characters Old Bill, Bert and Alf, faced with sardonic good humor everything that the Germans, the mud and their officers could throw at them. However, Bruce (known by some as ‘The Man Who Won the War’) never received the acclaim that he deserved for the morale boost that his cartoons gave to the troops at the front and to the people back at home. The 50th Anniversary of Bairnsfather’s death on 29 September 2009 offered an opportunity to redress the balance, and acknowledging it in combination with raising funds for Help for Heroes (H4H) seemed to be most appropriate.
~~~ The cartoons reproduced in this collection were originally drawn for The Bystander, a popular weekly magazine, in which they appeared each Tuesday throughout most of the Great War. Their effect on the public was totally unexpected, and so dramatic that Bystander sales soared. The organization, with unerring good judgement, decided it had a winner in Bairnsfather, and published the first 43 of his cartoons in an anthology. It was produced in February 1916, given the name Fragments from France and sold for 1s. On the front cover was a colored print of The Better ‘Ole which soon became, and was to remain, the most loved of all Bairnsfather’s cartoons. The authors own the original. Sales quickly reached a quarter of a million and a second anthology was published, More Fragments from France. It was described on the title page as ‘Vol II’ and the price was still 1s. The cartoon on the cover was 'What time do they feed the sea lions'?
~~~ In this volume The Bystander launched the first of a series of imaginative marketing exercises, similar to modern promotional methods. The full extent of the proliferation of the cartoons on all manner of products, from playing cards to pottery, is described in our Bairnsfather biography. Soon Still More Fragments from France were clamored for, and, with an eye to the future, the booklet was labeled No. 3 on the cover, Vol III on the title page. The success of the Fragments magazines was such that edition followed edition in rapid succession and at least eleven editions were published. The covers retained the same cartoon but were reproduced in different colors, both of board and ink — green, blue, red, grey, fawn and mauve. In America Putnam’s issued Nos. I-IV as one volume and parts V and VI separately. Various hard and leather-bound collections were offered for sale by The Bystander, and the drawings were sold separately as prints and “Portfolios” for framing. They were also printed in color as giveaways for Answers magazine. Leafing through these pages, the reader will soon understand their tremendous popularity and success which have withstood the test of time.


click to enlarge Holt, Valmai & Tonie. IN SEARCH OF A BETTER 'OLE: The Life, the Words and the Collectibles of Captain Bruce Bairnsfather. NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (Pen and Sword, 2010). 6x9, 150 illustrations. 224 pages.

~~~ Bruce Bairnsfather's cartoons were to the general public during World War I what Bill Mauldin's cartoons were to be in World War II. His "If you know of a better 'ole - get to it" may be the most famous cartoon of all time. His humorous portrayals of ordinary soldiers in the trenches were a great morale booster and were still serving as an inspiration years later during the dark days of the Second World War.
~~~ Over the years, particularly in Britain, a vast array of Bairnsfather collectables have appeared, such as plates, cups, mugs, car mascots and ashtrays. Renowned World War I tour guides Tonie and Valmai Holt provide a heavily illustrated guide to the world of Bairnsfather collectibles, and a detailed account of the man behind the legend.


click to enlarge Kenyon, David. BEST 500 COCKNEY WAR STORIES. NEW copy, trade paperback. (Amberley, 2010). 6x9, 70 b&w illustrations, 224 pages.

~~~ Published in London in the early 1920s, The Best 500 Cockney War Stories comprised, in the words of its newspaper publisher "a remembering and retelling of those war days when laughter sometimes saved men's reason."
~~~ The tone of the collection was, as the above quote suggests, determinedly humorous, reporting the lighter side of the conflict as viewed by its Cockney participants. Even so, the grimness behind what was in reality a brutal and highly mechanized conflict cut through many of the memoirs.
~~~ The collection of short memoirs, many illustrated by the famed Bert Thomas, is divided into five categories - Action, Lull, Hospital, High Seas and Here and There. Prefaced by an introduction by Sir Ian Hamilton, the British Commander-in-Chief who oversaw the Allies' unhappy campaign in Gallipoli.


Edmonds, Brigadier Sir James E., MILITARY OPERATIONS, FRANCE AND BELGIUM, 1914-1918. Originally published as the British official history of ground operations in World War I, a multiple-volume set, including appendices, available now only in individual volumes. NEW copies, direct from publisher. Battery Press. Originally published in the 1930s, reprinted in full by Battlery Press 1991-96.

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Fuller, J.F.C., TANKS IN THE GREAT WAR, 1914-1918 . NEW copy, direct from publisher. Battery Press, 2003. Photographs, drawings, maps, 338 pages.
~~~ This history of the Royal Tanks Corps in World War I covers the development of the tank, mechanical characteristics of early British tanks, particularly the Mark I, as well as the early battles at the Somme and Ancre. It also describes the growth of the Tank Corps itself, tank tactics, tank engineering, plus the tank battles of 1917-18. There are also appreciations of German, French and American tank activities.


Garston, Crosbie, THE MUD LARKS. N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, 1919. VG+/G+. First Edition. Soiling & chipping to spine of jacket. Book itself is clean & tight, except for soiled top page edges. 213 pages.
~~~ Author was 1st Lieutenant with King Edward's Horse Regiment. Book composed of humorous pieces of Army life in France, Belgium, Italy & Africa.


click to enlarge Grayson, Richard. AT WAR WITH THE 16th IRISH DIVISION, 1914-1918: The Letters of JHM Staniforth. NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (Pen and Sword, 2012). 6x9, 30 illustrations. 272 pages.

~~~ The letters of John ‘Max’ Staniforth are among the most perceptive, graphic and evocative personal records of a soldier’s life to have come down to us from the Great War. They cover his entire wartime career with the 16th (Irish) Division, from his enlistment in 1914 till the armistice, and they have never been published before.
~~~ From his first days in the army, Staniforth wrote fluent, descriptive weekly letters to his parents and, in doing so, he created a fascinating record of his experiences and those of the men around him. When the division arrived on the Western Front in 1915, he related his impressions in detail, and went on to give an unflinching account of the drama and the cruelty – and the grueling routine – of trench warfare. After he was gassed in 1918, he wrote about his feelings and the treatment he received just as thoroughly as he did about every other aspect of the conflict.
~~~ A striking aspect of the letters is that Staniforth enlisted as a private soldier and went through the training of the ordinary recruit before rising through the ranks. The letters also show how the Irish division was influenced by the turmoil of contemporary politics in Ireland.


click to enlarge Truesdale, David (ed). 'YOUNG CITIZEN OLD SOLDIER', FROM BOYHOOD IN ANTRIM TO HELL ON THE SOMME: The Journal of Rifleman James McRoberts, 14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, January 1915-1917 NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (Helion & Company, 2012). 6x9, 130 b&w photos, 224 pages.

~~~ For almost 43 years three school notebooks lay in obscurity in the County Armagh home of sixty two-year old James McRoberts. The closely filled pages recorded just over two years in his life in uniform as he played his part in what was then known as the Great War.
~~~ During the Home Rule crisis of 1914, one of several in Ireland's history, James McRoberts, like many other men, joined the Young Citizen Volunteers, an organization that eventually became the 14th Royal Irish Rifles, a battalion of the 36th (Ulster) Division.
~~~ These notebooks, written at the time and with footnotes added some forty years later, record his Army service between 8 January 1915 and 3 April 1917. They tell, with remarkable immediacy, of his time at Randalstown, County Antrim and the move to Seaford in East Sussex. From here, after further training, James moved with his Battalion to the trenches of the Western Front.
~~~ Written with a degree of humor and some detail his story covers the mundane routine of camp life, recreation behind the lines, the horrors of enemy shelling, the deaths of good friends and the momentous events of 1 July 1916 on the Somme, when his unit was in the thick of the action.
~~~ On 1 November 1917, while acting as a scout for a night patrol at Messines Ridge, James was seriously wounded and evacuated to hospital - for him the War was over. Nevertheless, he continued to record what was happening around him both with humour and in detail. Classed as 80% disabled, he was eventually discharged and returned home to enjoy a postwar career as a surveyor in County Armagh.
~~~ This is a remarkable memoir that is, by turns, lively, candid, humorous, poignant, and above all a window into the world of an Ulsterman who found himself both witness and participant to a series of remarkable events. His descriptions of army life, both daily routine and the inferno on the Somme in July 1916, add greatly to our knowledge of this most climactic period of history.


click to enlarge Kenyon, David. HORSEMEN IN NO MAN'S LAND: British Cavalry and Trench Warfare 1914-1918. NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (Pen & Sword, 2012). 6x9, 30 illustrations, 240 pages.

~~~ Of what use was the British cavalry during the years of trench warfare on the Western Front? On a static battlefield dominated by the weapons of the industrial age, by the machine gun and massed artillery, the cavalry was seen as an anachronism. It was vulnerable to modern armaments, of little value in combat and a waste of scarce resources.
~~~ At least, that is the common viewpoint. Indeed, the cavalry have been consistently underestimated since the first histories of the Great War were written. But, in light of modern research, is this the right verdict?
~~~ David Kenyon seeks to answer this question in his thought-provoking new study. His conclusions challenge conventional wisdom on the subject – they should prompt a radical reevaluation of the role of the horseman on the battlefields of France and Flanders a century ago.
~~~ Using evidence gained from research into wartime records and the eyewitness accounts of the men who were there – who saw the cavalry in action – he reassesses the cavalry's contribution and performance. His writing gives a vivid insight into cavalry tactics and the ethos of the cavalrymen of the time. He also examines how the cavalry combined with the other arms of the British army, in particular the tanks.
~~~ His well-balanced and original study will be essential reading for students of the Western Front and for anyone who is interested in the long history of cavalry combat.



Macintyre, Ben, THE ENGLISHMAN'S DAUGHTER: A True Story of Love and Betrayal in World War I. NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001). Photographs, notes, bibliography, index, 254 pages.
~~~ In the first terrifying days of World War I, a handful of British soldiers found themselves trapped behind enemy lines on the Western Front. Unable to rejoin their units, which were retreating under the German onslaught, they were forced to hide in the French countryside. The Englishman's Daughter is the extraordinary true story of these men, their rescuers, and the bittersweet love affair that sprang up between an enchanting French villager and a fugitive English soldier. This romance flourished under the very eyes of German occupiers, resulted in the birth of a child, and eventually tore a community apart.


click to enlarge Nash, N.S. VALOUR IN THE TRENCHES: 'Bombo' Pollard VC MC DCM HAC in the Great War. NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (Pen & Sword, 2012). 6x9, 16 b&w plates, 256 pages.

~~~ Alfred Pollard joined the Honorable Artillery Company at Armory House in the City of London in 1914 aged 21. The HAC is a unique Territorial unit composed entirely of middle class volunteers, who recruit all their officers from the ranks.
~~~ Pollard was a natural soldier who believed himself (correctly as it turned out) to be invulnerable. He reveled in combat and unlike the vast majority of his peers claimed to enjoy going into action. This extraordinary mindset is borne out by his well documented acts of selfless courage. He rose quickly through the ranks, earned a battlefield commission and was awarded in quick succession the Distinguished Conduct Medal, two Military Crosses and finally the Victoria Cross.
~~~ Despite his experiences and the horrific sights he witnesses, in his own memoirs, entitled Fire-eater, published in 1932, he made it clear he felt ‘neither fear nor pity’.
~~~ Pollard’s character was a curious mix of self assurance, even arrogance, and innate immaturity.
~~~ In post-war years Pollard wrote some 60 books which sold half a million copies.
~~~ This is a fascinating study of a courageous patriot who saw action throughout the Great War.



Palmer, Svetlana and Sarah Wallis, INTIMATE VOICES FROM THE FIRST WORLD WAR. William Morrow, 2003. NEW copy, except for black remainder mark on top edge of book; hardcover with dust jacket. Maps, photographs, bibliographic essay, 381 pages.
~~~ How do you tell the history of a war in which more than nine million combatants and nearly seven million civilians across the world died by bullet, fire, hunger and disease? How do you describe the experience of a war that ignited two revolutions, brought down four monarchies, scarred a generation and culminated in major political and territorial changes that cast shadows to this day?" Departing from traditional histories, Intimate Voices from the First Wold War tells the story of the First World War entirely through the diaries and letters of its combatants, eyewitnesses and victims. Powerful individual stories are interwoven to form an extraordinary narrative that follows the chronology of the war, in words written on the battlefield and on leave, under occupation and under siege. Soldiers and civilians record with passion, fear and humor their experiences and intimate thoughts, never intended for publication. The book starts with the testimony of a Serbian teenager, one of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassins. Each chapter focuses on one important episode of the war told from opposite sides of the conflict. A German and a British soldier are dug into the parallel lines of trenches on the Somme. An Australian and a Turk describe brutal bayonet charges on the beaches at Gallipoli. A Polish woman endures a gruesome siege and an initially patriotic German schoolgirl, after being exposed to the loss and pain of war, gradually escapes into a world of adolescent love. The diaries and letters featured were uncovered during extensive research across twenty-eight countries for the groundbreaking television series The First World War, based on the work of Professor Hew Strachan, whose introduction starts this book. Gripping, immediate and moving, Intimate Voices from the First World War represents a major addition to First World War literature.
~~~ Table of Contents as follows: The First Shots; Setting Off to the Front; Children at War; The Siege of Przemysl; The Eastern Front; Gallipoli; A Vertical War; In the Bush; The Somme and Verdun; Empires at War; The War at Sea; In Captivity; The Brown Shirt and the Red Commissar; The Final Push; Victory and Defeat.


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Rider, Robert J. (Alan C. Robinson, ed) REFLECTIONS ON THE BATTLEFIELD: From Infantryman to Chaplain, 1914-1919. NEW copy, TRADE PAPERBACK. Liverpool University Press, 2001. 272 pages.
~~~ In August 1914, Robert J. Rider, aged twenty-five, was about to begin his third year of training for the ministry of the Wesleyan Methodist church, at Handsworth Theological College in Birmingham. Two months later he had enlisted with the First Birmingham Battalion, later termed the 14th Battalion, of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His superiors became aware of his clerical background, and in 1916 he was commissioned to serve as an army chaplain, and ministered to an artillery unit on the Western Front until his eventual demobilisation in 1919. Reflections on the Battlefield is Rider's account of his experiences, and is derived from a typescript left to his descendants after he died in 1961. Broadly autobiographical, the text is unusual in that the author had experience of life both as a fighting soldier and subsequently as a non-combatant Christian minister, and was thus particularly exposed to the ambiguities of chaplaincy service on the battlefield. Written as a series of episodes presented in the third person, Rider's account is not so much a history as an attempt to convey the decency and humanity of the men he served with and ministered to, despite the brutalities, degradation and suffering of war. Reflections on the Battlefield thus provides us with a personal and valuable contribution to the debate about how the ethics of war were viewed from the World War I battlefield.


click to enlarge Watson, Capt. W.H.L. (Edited & introduced by Bob Carruthers. A MOTORCYCLE COURIER IN THE GREAT WAR: The Illustrated Edition. NEW copy, trade paperback. (Pen & Sword, 2013). 6x9, 40 b&w images, 208 pages.

~~~ W.H.L. Watson was a British Army, motorcycle dispatch rider in the First World War. He saw active service during the key battles of 1914 and early 1915. Watson and his colleagues formed part of the Royal Engineers Signal Service and these riders were originally volunteers, some of whom supplied their own machines.

This amazing account details the experiences of these brave young men and provides a unique primary source account of life at the sharp end during the titanic struggles fought out in Northern France and Belgium.

Richly illustrated with contemporary photographs and maps, this evocative description of the actions of the British Expeditionary Force is a key source and is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the Great War. Highly detailed, but nonetheless accessible this superb volume is greatly recommended for serious enthusiasts and casual readers alike.

Eyewitness accounts of these early clashes are comparatively rare and Watson’s wonderfully personal account provides a rare insight from an unusual perspective.


Weintraub, Stanley, A DEAR AND NOBLE BOY: The Life and Letters of Louis Stokes, 1897-1916. . (Pen & Sword Books Limited, 1997). Hardcover with dust jacket. 190 pages.
~~~ Louis Stokes was not an outstanding scholar, nor did he meet with a glorious death, but his letters are a fitting memorial to the generation of schoolboys who lost their lives in the Great War.
~~~ Hardcover out of print; softcover in print at $26.95.


Vaughan, Edwin Campion, SOME DESPERATE GLORY: The World War I Diary of a British Officer, 1917. Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 1989. NF. PAPERBACK. A tight, clean copy. Introduction by Robert Cowley. 232 pages.
~~~ Vaughan's diary records eight months in the life of a British 2nd Lt in 1917, ending in the killing fields of Passchendaele. Just as a first-hand account of what combat is like, and how men react to its unimaginable stresses, the book has few equals. But it has noteworthy qualities beyond that ... Some Desperate Glory ... is an unpremediated triumph, a small masterpiece of extemporaneous prose.


Weintraub, Stanley, SILENT NIGHT: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce. The Free Press, 2001. Hardcover with dust jacket, in new condition except for black remainder mark on bottom edge of book. Drawings, engravings, photographs, 19-page essay on Sources, index, 206 pages.
~~~ It was one of history's most powerful - yet forgotten - Christmas stories. It took place in the improbable setting of the mud, cold rain and senseless killing of the trenches of World War I. It began when German soldiers lit candles on small Christmas trees, and British, French, Belgian and German troops serenaded each other on Christmas Eve. Soon they were gathering and burying the dead, in an age-old custom of truces. But as the power of Christmas grew among them, they broke bread, exchanged addresses and letters and expressed deep admiration for one another. When angry superiors ordered them to recommence the shooting, many men aimed harmlessly high overhead. Silent Night, by renowned military historian Stanley Weintraub, magically restores the 1914 Christmas Truce to history.


Westlake, Ray, BRITISH BATTALIONS ON THE WESTERN FRONT: January to June 1915 . NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. Leo Cooper, 2001. Maps, photographs, regimental index, 270 pages.
~~~ The British situation in the first half of 1915 is of particular interest to those interested in British military history and in the recruiting and replacement policies used by most major countries in both world wars. Two new types of divisions began to arrive to fill the gaps in Britain's Regular Army: the Territorial Army (roughly equivalent to the U.S. National Guard) of pre-war reservists, and the New Army of civilians who had volunteered for service in the early days of the war. Various combinations were tried with traditional units such as the Brigade of Guards and the Royal Welch Fusiliers and newly-arrived units like the Artists Rifles, London Irish, and Post Office Rifles. Ray Westlake's latest work is a valuable day-to-day guide to the postings and actions of nearly 300 British battalions during this period of reorganization and preparation for massive future offensives.
~~~ British import, OUT OF PRINT.


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