Christy Campbell - Author

About the Author

Inspired by a visit to northeast France to witness the excavation of a remarkably intact First World War tank from beneath a suburban vegetable plot near the town of Cambrai, Christy Campbell – then defence correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph – began to piece together the little-known story of the young men who formed the British Tank Corps.

Very few of them had been professional soldiers; they were motoring enthusiasts and mechanics, plumbers, motorcyclists, circus performers and polar explorers. One officer declared: 'I have never seen such a band of brigands in my life.' They had trained in conditions of great secrecy in the grounds of a mock-oriental stately home in East Anglia and were originally known as the 'Heavy Branch, Machine Gun Corps'. The word 'tank' itself was deliberately chosen to mislead.

Men in tanks saw the face of battle at its most brutal. Their task was to crush and burn the enemy out of his fortifications, and to carve a path for the infantry so they could finish the job with bayonet and grenade. Captured tank crews were beaten up or sometimes shot out of hand by the Germans. They fought in their stifling armoured boxes packed with petrol and explosives, aware that at any moment a shell-hit might incinerate them all.

Christy Campbell has combed contemporary diaries and letters and later recollections to tell properly for the first time the robust yet harrowing story of how the first men in tanks went to war. The time frame is 1916-18, with a coda on how German blitzkrieg ideas developed from an English root.

Featured books by Christy Campbell

Other books by Christy Campbell

Mini An Intimate Biography

Mini An Intimate Biography

Author: Christy Campbell Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/03/2016

From its birth in 1959, the Mini grew to become a national treasure and huge success: Princess Margaret owned one, as did Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, the Beatles, Peter Sellers and Marianne Faithfull. Its popularity with women in particular marked it out from the crowd, and sales soared as the car was taken up by the new urban elite and took a starring role in The Italian Job. But there was trouble - the basic Mini sold for less than it cost to produce, and by the early eighties the miracle machine had become a symbol of manufacturing incompetence. The end came in 2000, but a new generation of Mini was just around the corner, and today this motoring pin-up is as iconic as ever. Mini features contributions from those who have known and loved this troubled star, as well as its scornful critics. Full of fascinating facts and vivid stories, this is a fabulous celebration of a living national treasure that reads more like the life story of a wayward royal than a machine.

Target London Under attack from the V-weapons during WWII

Target London Under attack from the V-weapons during WWII

Author: Christy Campbell Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/01/2013

During the darkest days of the Second World War, the Allies listened intently to the messages of the enemy. Every whisper built a picture of the threat to come - weapons that were terrifying in their murderous capabilities. Target London is the dramatic tale of the inception of the German V-weapons, the Allies' epic race to discover the truth about them and the rockets' effects on the streets of London. Investigative historian Christy Campbell brilliantly interweaves the many strands of this gripping episode. At the heart of this tale is London - the target of Nazi Germany's plan to crush British morale.

Phylloxera How Wine Was Saved for the World

Phylloxera How Wine Was Saved for the World

Author: Christy Campbell Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/02/2005

A historical investigation into the mysterious bug that wiped out the vineyards of France and Europe in the 1860s - and how one young botanist eventually `saved wine for the world'. In the early 1860s, vines in the lower Rhone valley, and then around Bordeaux, inexplicably began to wither and die. Panic seized France, and Jules-Emile Planchon, a botanist from Montpellier, was sent to investigate. Magnifying glass in hand, he discovered the roots of a dying vine covered in microscopic yellow insects. The tiny aphid would be named Phylloxera vastatrix - 'the dry leaf devastator'. Where it had come from was utterly mysterious, but it advanced with the speed of an invading army. As the noblest vineyards of France came under biological siege, the world's greatest wine industry tottered on the brink of ruin. The grand owners fought the aphid with expensive insecticide, while peasant vignerons simply abandoned their ruined plots in despair. Within a few years the plague had spread across Europe, from Portugal to the Crimea. Planchon, aided by the American entomologist Charles Riley, discovered that the parasite had accidentally been imported from America. He believed that only the introduction of American vines, which appeared to have developed a resistance to the aphid, could save France's vineyards. His opponents maintained that this would merely assist the spread of the disease. Meanwhile, encouraged by the French government's offer of a prize of 300,000 gold francs for a remedy, increasingly bizarre suggestions flooded in, and many wine-growing regions came close to revolution as whole local economies were obliterated. Eventually Planchon and his supporters won the day, and phylloxera-resistant American vines were grafted onto European root-stock. Despite some setbacks - the first fruits of transplanted American vines were universally pronounced undrinkable - by 1914 all vines cultivated in France were hybrid Americans. Phylloxera is an entertaining, revealing and frequently astonishing account of one of the earliest and most successful applications of science to an ecological disaster.

Author Info

Author's Website

http://www.curtisbrown.co.uk/christy-campbell/

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