At the end of the First World War more than 192,000 wives had lost their husbands and nearly 400,000 children had lost their fathers. A further half a million children had lost one or more siblings. Appallingly, one in eight wives died within a year of receiving news of their husband's death. Few people remained unscathed and the effects of the conflict are still with us. The Quick and the Dead will pay tribute to the families who were left to suffer at home while their husband, fathers, and sons went off to fight, and the generations that followed. Through the stories in this groundbreaking history, we realize not just what became of our grandfathers but how their experiences influenced the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of a generation that they left at home.
Against all the odds some stories ended happily - missing fathers did return, men thought to be dead returned from prisoner of war camps to a joyous reunion. For others the loss, while difficult to bear at the time, gave them an independence, drive, and ambition that ensured that their lives were successful and a fitting tribute to those who died. Very few people know that only the first minute's silence on Armistice Day is in memory of the dead of the Great War and all the subsequent wars. The second minute is for the living, the survivors of the war, and the wives and the children they left behind.
Through a unique collection of over 50 interviews, private diaries, and a remarkable collection of unpublished letters written by the soldiers to their families back home, The Quick and the Dead is a history of those who are commonly forgotten and neglected when the fallen are remembered on Armistice Day.
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The reader did that - he read the words, but there was nary a pause throughout the book, mushing together sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph. He plunged ahead as if there was an urgency to get to the end, with little inflection, so that there was no separation between thoughts and sections. And with such a poignant story, it took the life out of the book for me. I liked the book that was written but not the one that was read.
- Steve Pennock