The Imperial War Museum Book of 1918: Year of Victory by Malcolm Brown (1999)

6 February 2012

Picked up for a pound in a second hand shop, ‘The Imperial War Museum Book of 1918: Year of Victory’ is every bit as cumbersome as its title.

I was looking for some context for Mikhail Bulgakov’s marvellous novel, ‘The White Guard’, set in Kiev in the latter part of 1918 – but this book has only cursory references to any front apart from the Western one, over-familiar to us Brits from so many books and films. Lacking much analysis or strategy, the book’s USP is its extensive quoting from the letters, diaries and memoirs of scores of soldiers, sailors, airmen, nurses, and politicians, harvested from the vast archives of the War Museum.

Very moving, very good human interest but not, ultimately, very illuminating.

‘The Imperial War Museum Book of 1918: Year of Victory’ on Amazon

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