Our foremost military historian offers us a compelling and at times terrifying account of what it means to be a contemporary soldier. In this remarkable book, Richard Holmes draws on the testimonies of the 700 soldiers of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment to capture in vivid detail the average soldier’s day-to-day experience of war. Embroiled in a conflict often too dangerous for reporters to cover, these soldiers – most of them young, many without any previous experience of warfare – have kept ongoing records of the drudgery, anxiety and horror involved in fighting a violent and increasingly unpopular war against a ruthless and resourceful enemy. All have risked their lives, and many have died. Others have been recognised and awarded for their courage, resourcefulness and gallantry – Private Johnson Beharry recently became the first man to be awarded the Victoria Cross in 23 years. With these intimate and revealing glimpses of life in the modern army, Richard Holmes paints a sweeping portrait of a new generation of soldiers – grunts, gallants and heroes – and the sacrifices their decision to fight for their country entails. E11
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