The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #40665   Message #583452
Posted By: The Walrus
31-Oct-01 - 06:30 PM
Thread Name: Songbook review: When This Bloody War Is Over
Subject: Songbook review
I'm not sure if there is an ettiquette for reviewing books here, if there is and I breach it, my apologies.

Some months back, there was a thread running on WW1 Songs and, towards the end Max Arthur wrote in asking for help with a book he was writing, well, it's out.

"When This Bloody War Is Over" by Max Arthur, Piatkus Publishing, London, 2001. pp160, £12.99
ISBN 0 7499 2285 4

This is a slim(ish) volume containing an interesting mix of "standards" and some "lesser known" pieces from the Great War, most with a little text giving either a background or an explaination of the piece. Unfortunately, there wasn't room to include the music, but where he could (at least for parodies), Max has given the name of the tune (and often includes the original lyrics), which is a help. The songs are set out in a logical order Patriotic/Recruiters, Music Hall/Home Front (with soldiers' parodies), Gallipoli/ANZAC, RFC, Canadian/American songs and one post-war piece. The only problems that I could see were in one or two songs where, the version I know has differing choruses for each verse and the book assumes the same chorus and one song where I know a different tune and can't fit the lyrics to the tune quoted (but that may be me)

All in all, not a bad little book and, if you have an interest in the period or in "military" song, then this will sit nicely alongside Brophey & Partridge and Roy Palmer. (Of course, if you're not interested, then it's been a complete waste of time reading this far ).

The book was launched on Monday 29th October at the Imperial War Museum, London, with an interesting batch of guests (shall we say, If I'd realised who would be there, I would have had difficulty travelling with the all books I would have wanted signed), but the pride of place went to six veterans of the Great War, aged between 104 and the "baby" of the group at a mere 100. Several of this group were definite "gluttons for punishment", sporting medals from both World Wars, including, in one case, the Soviet medals awarded to those who had served in the Arctic convoys, supplying the USSR.

I'm not good at this kind of thing, so I'll pack up here and leave further discussion open to others (Mr Red was certainly there and I saw Gervaise's name tag waiting, but not the man himself).

Best Wishes