Friday, 30 November 2018

Book Reviews for new & related to World War 1 items

Kiwis at War series: This series of Teen books, written by popular New Zealand authors, gives a fictionalised overview of the First World War and the involvement in all aspects of it by Kiwis. Although each book is written by a separate author, characters slip seamlessly between the different books, bringing the characters to life. Don’t let the Teen label put you off – these are a great read!

1914: Riding into war by Susan Brocker, follows Billy and his best mate Jack as they join the Mounted Rifles Regiment along with their horses. The story begins with the difficulties encountered in keeping their horses alive and healthy during the sea voyage from New Zealand to Egypt, and then the eventual move minus their horses to Gallipoli.

1915: Wounds of war by Diana Menefy, is the story of Mel and her cousin Harriet, who join the NZ Army Nursing Corps. They set sail for Egypt then serve on Hospital ships involved in caring for wounded soldiers from Gallipoli. Letters flow between home and the ships, nurses on the different ships, giving insights into conditions, workloads and even shore leave.

1916: Dig for victory by David Hair. When Leith from Otago learns that the Mounted Rifles are to be combined with the Maori soldiers into the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion, he’s not happy, especially as they’re to be digging trenches! As well as dealing with a bullying Sergeant, Leith becomes friends with a young Maori soldier, Tamati, and we get to meet some famous names. Together they deal with the dangers and horrors of building trenches in France, and then with a treasonous officer.

1917: Machines of war by Brian Falkner. New Zealander Bob Sunday's story opens in La Bellevue, France, where he is bring driven to the RAF aerodrome to begin his posting as an observer/gunner. Disturbed by a strange throbbing sound, he and his fellow recruit realise German bombers are headed to the aerodrome. The story unfolds, revealing life as part of a flying squadron, where young men fought in the air, often with a short flying career.   

1918: Broken poppies by Des Hunt. Henry Hunt, a Kiwi soldier is close to enemy lines in the trenches on the battlefields of France. When he rescues a little terrier dog, Henry faces a disciplinary hearing. To his relief, Poppy is allowed to stay, for along with comfort for the soldiers (and a belief in their safety while with them), she’s a good ratter and hunter.  Once again, we are exposed to descriptions and emotions of a hellish time where many were broken.

An ANZAC in the family: Private McAlpine of the 4th reinforcements by Sherryl Abarahart 940.412 MCA, Reference only

Expat New Zealander Sherryl Abrahart has extensively researched the story of her uncle Private Leslie McAlpine, who served in the 4th reinforcements during the First World War. He survived the battlefields of Gallipoli and the sinking of the Marquette, but was tragically killed in action on the Western Front on the 8th July 1916, aged 19. He is buried at Cite Bonjean Cemetery, just outside of Armentieres.

The softcover book also features over 60 black and white photographs, as well as maps, digitised newspapers clippings, military records and other ephemera from the time.  

Listener, 10 November 2018
An article on page 28 mentions lack of understanding for medical personnel on their return to New Zealand and the ignorant attitudes of the public to their work as stretcher bearers.

Closer to home, on page 35, there is a fascinating article by Sally Blundell concerning a young Te Arawa soldier, Winiata Rewi Taphiana (Tapsell), and his part at Le Quesnoy, the place of New Zealand's famous victory.

Other recommended World War One titles

Broken branches: New Zealand families who lost three or more children in the Great War by Josh Scadden 940.467 SCA, DSR Reference only

The Bulford Kiwi: the kiwi we left behind by Colleen Brown 940.393 BRO, NZ Lending

Facing the front: New Zealand’s enduring first World War by Gavin McLean 940.393 McL, NZ Lending

Gallipoli to the Somme: recollections of a NZ infantryman by A Aitken 940.48193 AIT, NZ Lending

HMAS A.E.I’s Kiwi soldier: John Reardon – one of the first 2 New Zealanders to become submariners in 1914 by Gerry Wright 359.93 REA, DSR Reference only

Heroes of Gallipoli: gallantry of New Zealanders on Gallipoli by Richard Stowers 940.426 STO, DSR Reference only

Jack's journey: a soldier's experience of the First World War by Jack Pryce 940.48193 PRY, Lending

Make her praises heard afar: New Zealand women overseas in WWI by Anne Tolerton 940.3 TOL, NZ Lending and DSR Reference

New Zealand Methodist Chaplains and Ministers at war: the First World War through their eyes by Allan K. Davidson 940.478 DAV, NZ Lending

100 years New Zealand Military Nursing: New Zealand Nursing Service - Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps, 1915-2015 by Sherayl McNabb 940.475 McN, NZ Lending and DSR Reference

Recovery: Women's Overseas Service in World War 1 by Kay Morris Matthews 940.3082 MOR, NZ Lending and  DSR Reference

The Western Front: a guide to New Zealand battlefields and memorials by Ian McGibbon 940.427 McG, Genealogy Reference only

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