World War One: A Layman’s Guide is launched today on Amazon Kindle
I know what you are thinking: Not another book on the First World War!!
To a certain extent, I do sympathise with you. If you type in ‘WW1’ in the books section of Amazon.co.uk you will be confronted with a list of 11,186 books to choose from. That is quite a bookcase. So, do we really need another one, especially one written by me – I am not an academic, I am not a qualified historian, I am just a marketing guy.
Well, maybe we do:
The main person to blame for this book is a chap called Duncan, he is a tattooist from Area51 tattoo studio in Basingstoke. He is responsible for the tattoo I have on the inside of my lower right arm. The ink in question depicts WW1 soldiers going over the top, It is a very famous image taken from a still of a movie made at the time. Nothing unusual in this I guess, given my background and interest in this particular phase of world history.
What is slightly more unusual is the fact that, when I wear short sleeves, I get stopped several times a day by complete strangers who want to talk about my tattoo. The conversation typically goes something like this:
(Stranger) “Hey I love your tattoo; I have not seen anything like that before”
(Me) “Thank you, yes I guess it is pretty unique, I haven’t seen anyone with a similar design”
(Stranger) “What is it exactly?”
(Me) “It is depicting British soldiers going over the top during WW1”
(Stranger) “That is amazing. I think my <insert deceased family relative here> fought in the First World War. I don’t really know much about what he did though. It’s a shame; I should really find out a bit more.”
(Me) “So why don’t you then? There are hundreds of books on WW1, pick a couple up and get reading!”
(Stranger) “Yeah, I should, but all the books I have seen look too <insert any of: difficult, big, heavy, boring, dull, hard> and I just don’t have the time to read anything these days, life is so busy!”
So, it seems that despite the plethora of literature that has already been written on the First World War, there is still a large number of people (around where I live in the south of England at least) that would like to know more but for one reason or another think that the majority of existing literature is not written for them.
So this got me thinking.
I am not a historian, and for many that could be a big problem, because I do not have the intimate knowledge of the subject that an academic heavyweight would. But wait. Perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing after all. Perhaps something that was written, not by an academic, but by an ordinary ‘Layman’ would work here; using very short, sharp chapters that could take people who have little or no prior knowledge of the First World War through the main areas of the conflict to give them at least a passing knowledge of the more salient points. It would have to be written in a more conversational style and must be written in a way that can succinctly describe the main points of a serious piece of military history, not in 900 pages, but in 900 words.
Something that could be dipped in an out when time permits, but didn’t mean you had to re-read the last five pages to try and remember where you had originally got up to.
Here is that ‘something’. It doesn’t pretend to be academic in nature, (think of it more like a conversation over a pint), it doesn’t pretend to be the last word on the subject, it doesn’t pretend to cover everything in exhaustive detail, it is unashamedly bias towards the Western Front and it hasn’t uncovered anything new or ground breaking. Indeed, people who hold a decent knowledge of the subject should perhaps walk away and read something else as you are not the intended audience. It does however try to give a new spin on current content and thoughts around the First World War and deliver it in a sharp, easy-to-dip-in-and-out way in an effort to make what can be a very daunting subject easier to digest and understand, especially for people who are reading about the subject for the first time.
Welcome then, to The First World War: A Layman’s Guide.
The book is available on Kindle only at the moment and you can purchase it here for the very reasonable price of £1.53. If you want to have a look through a few chapters before you buy it, you can do so as the ‘look inside’ function is available on this book.
I do hope you like it!