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helenliz

helenliz

Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten - Neil Oliver This is a book on the memorials to the dead of the first world war, and the names on them and what exactly is remembrance. A war memorial is such a fabric of each town that we've probably long since stopped seeing them, let alone pausing to remember those who were named on them. And that gets increasingly difficult as WW1 becomes further removed. it's now outside living memory, the last people involved are dead, and I have to go back to my great grandparents to find a participant, 2 dead generations ago. So, what does it mean to remember? well this book tries to do this by looking at a number of memorials, and tracing the story of one or two names that are mentioned, it also takes a couple of instances (battles, a sea and rail disaster) and looks at what happened to one or two people there. By taking individual names, then taking them back to their grave or memorials. It makes it more intimate - the sheer scale of numbers makes it impossible to take in the enormity of WW1 at a glance. It's a good project, but it did feel a little like he wanted to make a point, but was pulling his punches. The chapters are all very short, 2-3 pages at most. It was to accompany a TV series, and i do wonder if that has anything to do with the style. It's not a survey of war memorials, but it does look at how they were raised, some of the bigger and smaller instances. It is worth noting that not all of them are standard memorials. My home town, for instance, has a roll of honour in the church, but the War Memorial (as paid for by public subscription) is, wait for it, the bus shelter on the village square. Yes. really. This might not change the way you think but it might just make you look at the memorial next time you pass it.