Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Forgotten Voices of the Great War” as Want to Read:
Forgotten Voices of the Great War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Forgotten Voices of the Great War

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  689 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
"Compulsive reading." -Norman Tebbit, The Sunday Times (London)
FORGOTTEN VOICES OF THE GREAT WAR is a touching, searing, and above all mesmerizing account of World War I, told in the voices of those who endured the tedium, heat, cold, pain, fear, and loss of the world's most brutal trench warfare to date.
In 1972 the British Imperial War Museum set about the momentous tas
...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Ebury (first published November 5th 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Forgotten Voices of the Great War, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Forgotten Voices of the Great War

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,601)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
'Aussie Rick'
Max Arthur’s book; Forgotten Voices of the Great War, is quite unique in that it's content is nearly all first-hand accounts from people who experienced the horror of the Great War. The author has utilized a number of tape recorded interviews conducted by the Imperial War Museum in 1972. Many of the tapes from the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive had been forgotten and left unheard for years.

Now Max Arthur has put together many of these unheard voices from the Great War to produce this spellbi
...more
Gregory Williams
Mind-boggling first person stories of those who directly experienced the First World War. From those who were shamed into enlisting, despite only being 15-17 years old, by girls who roamed British streets with feathers they shoved into the faces of young men, to stories by soldiers handcuffed to wagon wheels for days because they missed roll call. Descriptions by those who experienced the waves of chlorine and mustard gas, with advice to urinate on their handkerchiefs or caps and hold them over ...more
Olivia
Wow. This blew me away. I have never read another book so intense with details from any war (not that I've read many!). It was a horrific book to read and I had to put it down for a day or so to get a break. Through the voices of many World War 1 veterans, you travel through the four years of the Great War. There was nothing glamorous about it.

I wished there had been more of a Christian aspect to the book. That is my main complaint. Also, I gave this a slightly lower rating because of a few thi
...more
Gavin Dobson
Aug 28, 2013 Gavin Dobson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As we move inexorably towards the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, it is all the more important to keep the flame of remembrance alight. This book came out in 2002, compiled in association with the Imperial War Museum, and consists of numerous anecdotes gathered in the 1990s from survivors--principally British, but also German, French, Australian and American.
The value of the book is that it records the tail end of the WW1 generation before they'd all finally died off by the ear
...more
Wanda
Sep 24, 2014 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: FrankenStan
24 SEP 2014 -- recommended by FrankenStan from the WWII Group. Many thanks.
Reds_reads
Nov 19, 2014 Reds_reads rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is part of the 'Forgotten Voices' series of books - transcripts of voice recordings held by the Imperial War Museum of people who lived through wars. As the title suggests, this one covers World War I. Apart from a brief outline of events at the start of each chapter (each chapter covers a calendar year of the war), the rest of the book consists of transcripts and so the story is told in the words of people who lived through the events.

Unlike the corresponding WWII book, this seemed to
...more
Jeslyn
Aug 06, 2014 Jeslyn rated it it was amazing
Max Arthur has written numerous books on the First World War, and this one is specifically designed as an introductory overview, very suitable for youth in particular, but preserving the frank honesty of the soldiers' experiences. It provides an excellent timeline of the battles, discussion of trench conditions, `propaganda posters, medals, weaponry, and many more aspects, as well as many quotes from German, British, and American soldiers who served. Head and shoulders above any high-school hist ...more
Radiah
Jul 31, 2014 Radiah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is incredible valuable. It tells the story of the war through those who experienced it first-hand. Most of the featured voices are British, though there are some Germans, few are Americans and French. It was very difficult to stop reading the individual experiences. Some of the accounts were disturbing but through the book, I caught glimpses of humour, of hopelessness and of stoic acceptance. I feel that the book is foremost a collection of the very essence of the human spirit when fac ...more
Prasidh Ramson
May 02, 2015 Prasidh Ramson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lest we forget...

Forgotten Voices recounts stories from soldiers (British, German, American and Australian), men and women that lived and fought during World War I (1914-1918). Their oral recollections were collected, transcribed and archived and are presented here. The author starts each chapter with a broad outline of events from that year, followed by short excerpts. Given the large volume of information, the author does well to highlight important historical incidents while following the nat
...more
Caroline Button
Jan 12, 2016 Caroline Button rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: charity
It was very appropriate that I started reading this as we commemorated 100 years since the start of WW1. It is the voices of those who were there. Max Arthur has done a superb job in editing. As Stephen Fry is quoted on the front cover "An extraordinary and immensely moving book". He reality of this war is told in all is painful images. Nothing is left to the imagination. Both sides are quoted.

For me I want to end with these quotes that have stood out:

Heinrich Beautow
German Schoolboy

"After th
...more
Doug
Apr 06, 2014 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My grandfather and father-in-law were both veterans of the Great War. Since neither would ever talk about their experiences, I really had no idea what they went through. I learned about Foch, Haig, Pershing, et al in high school. What I wanted was insight into what life was like for the average doughboy. I couldn't have chosen a better source than Forgotten Voices. Aside from a brief introduction for each year (1914-18) the entire book consists of transcripts from the Imperial War Museum sound a ...more
James
Nov 05, 2011 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As any historian knows first hand accounts are invaluable and this is what this book is. Within it's pages you find a selection of excerpts from interviews with survivors of World War 1 that were undertaken during the 1970s. These are ordered so that they are chronological in their context and include not only the troops at the front, but during the early period of the war. This includes interviews with civilian men and women to give you an insight into the public feeling and enthusiasm for the ...more
Peter
(view spoiler) ...more
Rod
Dec 06, 2012 Rod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A first-class, first-hand, first world war reference! The contributors, who were originally interviewed by the BBC, give life to the major events of the first world war.
One of the most striking facts was the attitude of women to men in civilian clothes and the giving of white feathers of cowardice, often in error, to soldiers who were on leave, or to youngsters of fifteen or sixteen who were then encouraged to join up and die. One almost wishes that some of these people could have been plucked
...more
Daniel Etherington
Fascinating - an account of the entire First World War, but constructed entirely through transcriptions of interviews with people who were involved, in one way or another. This involves everyone from front line troops, to women working in munitions factories back in Britain.

As well as, inevitably, being horrifying, it's also deeply moving in places, and sometimes even infuriating (the pompous tone of some of the officers occasionally got my goat).

Things that stood out for me:

How soldiers on lea
...more
Lynyrd
Jun 24, 2011 Lynyrd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war
Max Arthur's compilation of First World War memories, Forgotten Voices of the Great War, offers a reminder of the scale of human experience within the 1914-18 conflict. Arthur, a military historian best known for his history of the RAF and his account of the Falklands campaign in 1982, has assembled hundreds of excerpts from the sound archives of the Imperial War Museum. Officers, rank-and-file troops, Australians, Americans, war widows, women in the munitions factories, and German soldiers too, ...more
Cindy
Jan 13, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Gleaned from the British Imperial War museum, the anectdotes and experiences of British, French, and some German and American Soldiers (even some wives/ kids from the homefront). Very fascinating read of first hand experiences, a good mix of facts, emotions, and the ugliness/ coping with war. I like getting more information from the more distant wars as WWII gets a lot more coverage in our society. (depending on the maturity of the older teen, it contains a few d and h words which are understand ...more
Dovile
Mar 21, 2014 Dovile rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This really a must read, and much more interesting than what they were (or are) teaching you at school about the Great War. This book makes the WWI come alive right before your eyes, and it's not simple or heroic at all. In fact, you might want to close this book and wish you've never picked it up, but once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down.

It's also illustrated with black and white photos, which help to imagine what was it like back then (I wish the photos were placed at a
...more
Stoxy001
Mar 26, 2016 Stoxy001 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished reading this book during the half time interval of an international football friendly between Germany and England, nearly one hundred years after the end of the great war.
Fascinating to read from multiple view points about the progression of war and the terrible conditions on the frontline. Its almost unthinkable that the tools and technology that are commonplace in conflict nowadays weren't even close to being invented.
I'm not sure that this kind of book is something that I'd read re
...more
Pete Body
Sep 17, 2014 Pete Body rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Provides a different aspect of the war based on letters from all sides in the conflict. Very personal and more positive than I was expecting. It's still a wonder how these extremely brave men survived, and makes you wonder how the current generations would perform. An excellent and moving read
Andy
Nov 29, 2013 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Reading about The Great War (1914-18) is generally a tough ask. The studies vary wildly in tone - from Niall Ferguson's claims that this was a pointless conflict that Britain should and could have avoided, to Gary Sheffield's insistence that the war ranks among Britain's greatest military campaigns (admittedly at a high price.)

This book doesn't touch on any of the debate. This simply tells the story of one of the most horrific periods of the 20th Century through the words of those that lived it.
...more
Gooddeeds
Feb 02, 2015 Gooddeeds rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heart-breaking real-life accounts of life in the war; no matter how much you see on TV or in films there's always worse stories to hear and read. How anyone got through this I'll never know.


Bought at Westoe Village Fair 2011 and I think donated to the South Shields BHF shop.
Richard
Dec 10, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: project-2014


There was this little piece of a war…right in front of a person's face and attention…a little piece of the war…over and over and over…until it was all of one person's war…over and over and over…until it was everyone's' pieces of everyone's' war—and then it was peace.

Brilliantly done…


Stosch
Sep 02, 2014 Stosch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww1-first-hand
excellent book. its a collection of experiences from all ways of life, soldier, civilian(young and old), nurse, etc. all interviews. the book goes in chronological order from right before the war to the end. very good book, highly recommend for anyone interested in WW1.
Nevzat Kizilkaya
Feb 13, 2014 Nevzat Kizilkaya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. It really gives you the perspective of the people who suffered. The book contains not only stories of soldiers but also the ones at the home-front. The reason Ive given it 4 stars is because it is very one-sided, we only hear a small amount of the axis side.
Jane
Oct 19, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book,filled with excerpts from individual stories across the board from civilians through all the various components on both sides of the war. Following the timeline of the battles and troop movements from start to finish. I found it light at the beginning,harrowing and depressing through the middle and a light at the end of the tunnel feeling at the end. If you want an idea of how people felt and dealt with things almost a century ago then this book will give you a stark view into the ...more
Meghan
Feb 24, 2015 Meghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book thrilling but also incredibly tough going. The snippets that you get from 1914 -1918 make the book really easy to pick up and put down but also very difficult to read for any real length of time. There is so much information to process, it's like you're metaphorically wading through the trenches with these brave men. Well worth reading.
Layne
May 10, 2015 Layne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I mean there's obviously an imbalance between the amount of German accounts and the amount of accounts from Commonwealth soldiers, but otherwise this book is more or less perfect. I absolutely love the idea behind it: create a timeline of events and battles on the Front by taking real survivors' perspectives. I also love how they add in stuff about the home front, how young children experienced it and how there was a different reaction in each country to the war. I think it's important to rememb ...more
Naomi
Aug 28, 2014 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A fantastic telling, because of the many stories, this oral history is a gem for those interested in learning more of the experiences of World War I.
Jennings Peeler
Dec 10, 2014 Jennings Peeler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: project_2014


There was this little piece of a war…right in front of a person's face and attention…a little piece of the war…over and over and over…until it was all of one person's war…over and over and over…until it was everyone's' pieces of everyone's' war—and then it was peace.

Brilliantly done…


« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 53 54 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The First Day on the Somme
  • Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918
  • Eye-Deep In Hell: Trench Warfare In World War I
  • Somme
  • Unknown Soldiers: The Story of the Missing of the First World War
  • A Storm in Flanders: The Ypres Salient, 1914-1918: Tragedy and Triumph on the Western Front
  • The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916
  • The Somme: The Darkest Hour on the Western Front
  • Gallipoli
  • Vimy
  • Gallipoli
  • In Flanders Fields: The 1917 Campaign
  • The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World
  • The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War
  • No Man's Land: 1918, the Last Year of the Great War
  • Death's Men: Soldiers of the Great War
  • The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, the Oldest Surviving Veteran of the Trenches
  • The First World War: A Complete History
Max Arthur is an author who specialises in first-hand recollections of historical events. He has worked closely with the Imperial War Museum to bring together two books in the Forgotten Voices series, Forgotten Voices of the Great War and Forgotten Voices of the Second World War. Prior to becoming a writer, he served with the Royal Air Force and for some years was an actor.
More about Max Arthur...

Share This Book