Gunpowder & Glory: The Explosive Life of Frank Brock OBE

Casemate. Jun. 2020. 252p. ISBN 9781612008448. $34.95. BIOG
This profile of solider and inventor Frank Brock (1884–1918), a member of the Royal Air Force, offers insight into the critical role he played before and during World War I. Smee, Brock’s grandson, collaborates with journalist Macrory (former deputy editor, Sunday Express; Ultimate Folly) to tell the story of Brock’s life. The Brock family developed large firework productions during the 19th century; as a teenager, Frank developed sophisticated firework displays. When the Great War began, Brock helped develop bullets that brought down German zeppelins and invented smoke screens to hide attacking naval ships. He played a crucial role in the Zeebrugge Raid of 1918, a mission undertaken by the Allied Forces to block German submarines. He was later killed in action during a raid to steal German weapons in 1919.
VERDICT Smee and Macrory present a well-written book that illuminates the actions on the British home front during the Great War and what it means for a soldier to sacrifice all. Highly recommended for Anglophiles and those interested in World War I history.

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