I Shall Not Be Away Long
Charles Bartlett, Andrew Tatham, Andrew Tatham, Andrew Tatham, Andrew Tatham, William Boyd
‘Moving, powerful, important’ – MICHAEL MORPURGO —- ‘A classic of its kind’ – WILLIAM BOYD —-
A larger-than-life infantry officer’s letters written from the Western Front to his West End actress wife from 1915 to 1917, visually presented with images of all the letters as well as pictures and detailed notes about the people and objects and events he encounters, showing how personal and family and war history connects through to today. Not only are the letters almost completely uncensored and full of incident described with directness and bluff humour, but the people mentioned along the way give a full spectrum of supporting characters, from Charles Bartlett’s actress wife and their friends on the West End stage, to soldiers noted for their heroism or eccentricity or insubordination or complicated love lives (or combinations of all of these), to men avoiding conscription, to spies, royalty and a newspaper magnate. The letters give a portrait of a man, a marriage, and a time of traumatic uncertainty. Charles Bartlett is not an exemplary hero, but his flaws make him all the more human as he struggles through leading his Battalion at the Battles of Loos and the Somme and the frights and labours of life on the Western Front. A companion volume to Andrew Tatham’s first book ‘A Group Photograph – Before, Now & In-Between’, it shares many of the same characters and explores the same ideas of what it is like to be a human being in any time, how our beliefs and hopes compare to reality, and what remains of us after we are gone. —- A full-colour high-quality book with 527 vintage & contemporary pictures, images of 341 letters, and 26 maps. — As featured on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 and in the Telegraph Magazine.
'Moving, powerful, important' - MICHAEL MORPURGO ---- 'This is not only a beautiful-looking book, generously and wonderfully illustrated, it is also a remarkable human document, as rich in detail and commentary on the human condition as a long novel. Tens of thousands of books have been written about the First World War and who would have thought that, over a hundred years since it ended, there was anything more to say. But 'I Shall Not Be Away Long' fully earns its place in the Pantheon of literature about the Great War. We come away from it amused, moved, informed, baffled, shocked, saddened and, with a bit of luck, wiser. It is a classic of its kind.' - WILLIAM BOYD ---- 'The achievement of it, the depth, breadth, humanity, suspense (what on earth was Charles going to be up to next?), the 300-strong cast, the meticulousness, brilliant structure and design... It is a more than worthy sequel to 'A Group Photograph' and the two fit beautifully, seamlessly, together' - PATRICK MILES, author of 'George Calderon - Edwardian Genius' ---- 'Compelling reading' 'Absolutely intriguing' 'Of human interest that we can all relate to as all our lives are more complex and nuanced than they might seem at first glance' - HELEN TOVEY, Editor of Family Tree magazine ---- 'The book is beautifully illustrated and the depth of research is most impressive' - PROFESSOR IAN BECKETT, author of 'The Great War' ---- 'If there's one book you read about the Great War during this time of remembrance, I heartily recommend this one.' - BRITAIN AT WAR magazine ---- 'Tatham does the roller-coaster ride of Bartlett's life proper justice in an impeccably produced book.' - HISTORY OF WAR magazine ---- 5 stars & 'It will make excellent reading for scholars of the conflict.' - SOLDIER magazine ---- Book of the Week: 'Andrew Tatham has produced a remarkable human document' - COUNTRY LIFE magazine
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