When the Lamps Went Out: From Home Front to Battle Front: Reporting the Great War 1914-1918/Nigel Fountain. Guardian Faber Publishing. Hardcover. New 15/05/2014. ISBN 1783350415 (RRP £17.99)
These stories from the Guardian archive are like signals from a lost world, presenting a surprisingly humbling and uplifting insight into what British society was reading and thinking, during the Great War. We see Boy Scouts patrolling Britain’s coasts, David Lloyd George addressing women war workers, Charlie Chaplin impersonators on the Euston Road and Vesta Tilley at the Ardwick Empire. We see suffragist nurses on the Western Front, Bolsheviks in Glasgow, Pathan soldiers in Flanders and Anglo-Japanese armies in China. We read of John Buchan’s best-sellers and of new technologies, and we see small countries saved and aliens persecuted. While the bloody battles, defeats and victories are all here, the focus is on the women, men and children who lived, loved, defied, perished and survived in the war to end all wars.