Love, Tommy: Letters Home from the Great War to the Present Day

Osprey. 2012. c.272p. illus. index. ISBN 9781849087919. $25.95. HIST
Drawn from collections housed at London's Imperial War Museum, this volume brings together missives by British and other Commonwealth service personnel from World War I to the current war in Afghanistan. Roberts (The Storm of War) offers introductory essays that summarize the conflicts in an admirably concise way as well as biographical information about each letter writer. The letters have a running theme of missing home and longing for family and creature comforts, whether the writer is in 1914 France or 2004 Iraq. Some are surprisingly mundane given the writer's circumstances, and others touchingly poignant. Photographs of some of the letter writers are welcome and add to the reading experience. One woman, a nurse in Aden (now Yemen) in 1965, is represented. Other letters here were written during the Malayan Emergency, the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya, and the Falklands War. (No examples from the conflict in Northern Ireland, however.)
VERDICT For general readers interested in the more personal side of war.

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