Tails from the Great War throws a spot light on the experience of creatures great and small during the First World War, vividly telling their stories through the incredible archival images of the Mary Evans Picture Library. The enduring public interest in Michael Morpurgo’s tale of the war horse reveals an enthusiasm for the animal perspective on war, but what of the untold stories of the war dog, the trench rat or even the ship’s pig?
Through unrivaled access to rarely seen illustrated wartime magazines, books and postcards, discover the sea lions who were trained to detect submarines, and witness the carcass of the 61ft mine-destroying wonder whale. Meet the dog that brought a sailor back from the brink of death, and inspired a Hollywood legend. See how depictions of animals were powerfully manipulated by the propaganda machine on both sides, and how the presence of animals could bring much needed and even lifesaving companionship and cheer amid the carnage of war.
As the centenary of the Great War is commemorated all over the world, take a timely journey via the lens of Mary Evans wartime images, and marvel at the often overlooked but significant contribution and experience of animals at war. By turns astonishing, heart-warming and occasionally downright bizarre, Tails from the Great War champions the little-known story of the bison, the chameleon, the canary et al in wartime.
I am a big fan of the books in this series so when I saw that this one had been reduced in the sale I grabbed a copy and got stuck in. The book is easy to follow and it probably took me a couple of hours to read though as I spent longer looking at the images – they say ” a picture tells a thousand words” and that I think is the key to this book and indeed this series. The topics certainly have me hooked and intrigued and this one was no different.
The book is well laid out and even though I did know that there was a mix of animals used within the Great War, it was good for dogs, horses, birds, mules and donkeys to get the recognition they deserve as they too played a vital role.
Whether it was from taking supplies too and from the front line, helping to deliver messages, or medicine, or providing cheerful songs to patients in recovery they allowed though at the front or assisting to get on with their main jobs.
The book has some moving photographs too and they are very poignant as these animals often became best friends too and their passing on was really felt.
It is 4.5 stars from me for this one, rounded up to 5 stars for Goodreads and Amazon – it is another excellent book in the Images of War series and I have already recommended that my husband reads it as he loves this series probably more than me! Very highly recommended!!