Saturday 2 August 2014

Review ~ The Shadow of War by Stewart Binns

Penguin Books UK
Michael Joseph
25 July 2014

Shadow of War, is the start of The Great War series of books by this author which will see a new book for each year of the duration of the war. The story opens as the unrest in Europe starts to escalate and during the summer of 1914, five British communities, are about to discover that the order of the old routine is about to change forever.

With his usual skilful style of recounting history, Stewart Binns has succeeded in giving a realistic portrayal of the effects of the first few months of the war and shows just how the different social groups adapted to living in uncertain times. The ever changing tidal wave of political unrest is juxtaposed against the uncertainty of an increasingly difficult social situation, and the communal feelings of both fear and insecurity acts as  a palpable reminder of the uncertainty of impending war.

The book initially gets off to rather a slow start, not because the book is uninteresting, far from it, but more because as with any new series there are people and places to get to know. However, as the individual stories start to coalesce, the narrative starts to both educate and entertain and a feeling of rapport with the characters starts to emerge.

Of all the many books published in this centenary year of the start of World War One, it is difficult to know which one to choose. My thoughts are, if you would like something that will take you gradually through the conflict year by year, then this book with its solid beginning is a good a place as any to start.

My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books UK for my ARC copy of this book.


Image of Stewart Binns

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