The Invisible Cross by Andrew Davidson

Author Rating:
4/5,
  • Author:
    Andrew Davidson
    First World War biographies are two a penny. What makes this newly compiled and published book special is the continuity of the account. Few Regular Army officers of August 1914 lived long enough or were kept with their battalions for such a long period.

    Graham "Bull" Chaplin survived wounds , exhaustion, a riding accident and countless near misses to eventually achieve command of a brigade. Tact on his part might have advanced his career, but he had the strength of character to be able to hold his ground in the face of mistaken orders. No soft touch, but neither a man to fling lives away to advance his career.

    Andrew Davidson has published four previous books including Fred's War (Short Books). Here he has skillfully blended Chaplin's letters with extracts from the War Diary and a few notes. Unfortunately Mrs Chaplin's letters are not reproduced as her husband periodically burnt them while in the trenches, in case he was killed or captured.
    The slightly enigmatic title is derived from a letter from the Regimental Padre (P313),and refers to Chaplin's moral courage

    The book will appeal to military types as well as general readers. There are some interesting cross mentions of R Graves and S. Sassoon It runs to 378 pages with a useful appendix for non military readers and poignantly the obituary of Brigadier Chaplin from 1956.The illustrations are relevant although on non glossy paper . One illustration (page 255) shows troops prepared for gas attack from a much earlier phase of the war than that chapter.There are good end notes but, annoyingly no index.

    The book is priced at £20.00 , although a bit cheaper on Amazon. It is also available on Kindle circa £13.99

    A good buy and easy to read.

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