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Tommy's Ark Soldiers and their Animals in the Great War by Richard Van Emden
  

Tommy's Ark Soldiers and their Animals in the Great War

Synopsis

Tommy's Ark Soldiers and their Animals in the Great War by Richard Van Emden

For soldiers in the Great War, going over the top was a comparatively rare event; much more frequently, they were bored and lonely and missing their families at home. Needing an outlet for their affection, many found it in the animal kingdom. Tommy's Ark looks at the war through the eyes of the soldiers who were there, and examines their relationship with a strange and unexpected range of animal life, from horses, dogs and cats to monkeys and birds - even in one case a golden eagle. Animals became mascots - some Welsh battalions had goats as mascots, some of the Scots had donkeys. And then there were the animals and insects that excited curiosity amongst men drawn into the army from the industrial heartlands of Britain, men who had little knowledge of, let alone daily contact with, wildlife. Civilians turned soldiers observed the natural world around them, from the smallest woodlouse to voles, mice and larger animals such as deer and rabbit. Richard van Emden explores his subject far more radically than previous attempts, revealing how, for example, a lemur was taken on combat missions in the air, a lion was allowed to pad down the front line trenches and how a monkey lost its leg during the fighting at Delville Wood on the Somme. Illustrated with more than sixty previously unseen or rarely published photographs, drawn mainly from the author's own extraordinary collection.

Reviews

Praise for 'The Soldier's War' `Thousands of books have been written about the Great War, but perhaps none so vividly evocative as The Soldier's War ... an extraordinary homage to a lost generation' * Daily Mail * `In The Soldier's War, Richard van Emden has toiled in archives and hunted down caches of letters to tell the story of the war chronologically through the eyes of the Tommies who fought it' * The Times * `Not the least remarkable aspect of Van Emden's trawl through the memories of these survivors is that they are accompanied by around 100 unpublished photos ... Since original images from the war's sharp end are rarities, these pictures - blurred and fuzzy though many of them are - are themselves worth the price of the book' * Literary Review *


About the Author

Richard van Emden has interviewed over 270 veterans of the Great War and has written fourteen books on the subject including Boy Soldiers of the Great War and The Last Fighting Tommy. He has also worked on more than a dozen television programmes on the First World War, including Britain's Last Tommies, Britain's Boy Soldiers, the award-winning Roses of No Man's Land, and most recently, War Horse: The Real Story. He lives in West London.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 2011

Author

Richard Van Emden

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Author's Website

richardvanemden.com/

Publisher

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Format

Paperback
352 pages

Categories

First World War
Military life & institutions
Domestic animals & pets
European history

ISBN

9781408810071

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