Friday, January 18, 2019
A Book Review: Back to the Front by Stephen O’Shea
With Back to the Front Stephen OShea has written a very interesting, non-fiction sacred scripture that crosses a variety of genres. It is a travel obligate, a personal journey, and an anecdotal history of World struggle I. Instead suffering from a careen number of facts, Back to the Front provides historical selective information on a more personal, more immediate level. It is the story of the Western Front it is in any case the story of discovering that story. Back to the Front tells the story of what OShea experienced while mountain passway the route of the World War I trench lines from Nieuport, Belgium to the Swiss perimeter 450 miles to the south and east.Throughout the summer of 1986 OShea walked through the length of the infamous no mans nation that separated the German Army and the Allied Armies from 1914 through 1918. During his journey OShea preserve his thoughts, and collected bits of information and scraps of memories not nevertheless of his journey, but of th e initiative World War and its impact and relationship to its future, our present day. He augments these with particular research not only of the battles of World War I, but with information of other fights that allows the take wholenessr to make comparisons with events he or she may be familiar with.OShea wrote Back to the Front in a simple, easy to read style. He seems to anticipate the readers experience and provide resolution to unvoicedies the reader may have. When he enters Ypres, that intemperate to spell and harder to pronounce city in Belgium, OShea provides the pronunciation for the reader ee-pruh and provides an interesting anecdote where he claims the English occupying forces strugg guide with the same difficult and decided to call it Wipers (OShea, 31).Back to the Front relates not only the details of his fleshly journey highlighted with interesting and amusing anecdotes, it provides graphic details of the enormity of the war. approximately of these facts are staggering. To the Boomers whose primary war experience is Vietnam with its approximate fifty guanine United States troops killed and to later generations that have seen 3,000+ American deaths in Iraq, it is difficult to internalize how the French could have had 210,000 soldiers killed in the month of August 1914. much(prenominal) tragic losses were not unusual in the Great War.Time and again the military leadership of France and England ordered soldiers forward in open attacks on the well entrenched German soldiers. Hundreds of thousands of men were killed as they bravely, but unwisely followed their orders. OShea tells of a German officer who described the British soldiers as lions led by donkeys (OShea, 30). Stephen OShea is a Canadian writer and journalist who has lived in capital of France since the early 1980s. Born in 1956 OShea spent his childhood at the pulsing of his fathers employers . . . bopping from city to town to city every two or thee days (OShea, 3).Consequen tly he is like many members of the generation that lacks roots because of the mobility the automobile provided to northwest American families in the Twentieth Century. Previous to his walk across Europe, OShea had vi officed the site Battle of the Somme and had become aware just how little impact the war to end all wars appeared to have on his generation, the Baby Boomers. OShea tries to overcome the posture common to members of all generations that his generation is somehow special and that the experiences previous generations were of hold value and should be ignored and dismissed . . .as a sort of irksome overture humanity had to endure before the real divas stepped on play (OShea, 2). He tries to overcome the attitude that if a thing is history, it is a loser. Been there, do that, lets move on (OShea, 1). What results is not a just history although one certainly learns history, nor is it just a travel disc that describes far remote places for the armchair traveler to enjoy . Back to the Front is the story of not only OSheas walk through the trenches, but it is the story of the Baby Boomer generation intrusive for its place in the world, but searching for its place in history.Undoubtedly, OSheas book is not unique, perhaps not even special, it is a book, about a generations search for its place in history. However it is a good book and a thoughtful book that should be read not only by Baby Boomers, but later generations as well when these generations come middle age and are trying to locate their place in the past, present, and future. Works Cited OShea, Stephen. Back to the Front An Accidental Historian Walks the Trenches of World War I. New York Walker and Company,1996.