'Around the country, bronze soldiers in slouch hats stand silently at attention. It is the Anzacs' remarkable writing that reveals the lives behind the national legend.
In the Trenches is a collection of gripping, awe-inspiring and sometimes terrifying accounts of life at the front, recorded by those who lived through the fighting.
Drawn from diaries, memoirs and letters, as well as poetry, reportage and prose, this writing reminds us that the Anzac legend is rooted in real and tragic circumstances on a heartbreakingly human scale. Belying the common perception of the laconic digger, these compelling voices convey the range of wartime experience, from the desolation and horror to the unbridled excitement and camaraderie. Through it all runs the bleak toll on young lives.
Author and journalist Mark Dapin has selected writing from those on the frontlines as well as behind the scenes, from officers and soldiers to nurses, engineers and reporters, to create a volume that will be regarded as the definitive record of the personal experiences that forged the emerging national identities of Australia and New Zealand.' (Publisher's blurb)
'"It's the end of the 1916 winter and the conditions are almost unbelievable. We live in a world of Somme mud. We sleep in it, work in it, fight in it, wade in it and many of us die in it. We see it, feel it, eat it and curse it, but we can't escape it, not even by dying."
'Private Edward Lynch was just 18 when he enlisted in the army. When he returned to Australia almost three years later, he wrote Somme Mud, a vivid account of the horrific realities of trench warfare from an ordinary infantryman's point of view: the traumatised soldiers and ravaged landscapes, the curious mixture of hatred, empathy and admiration for the equally naive enemy soldiers, the disillusionment and the camaraderie.
'Lynch's candour and down-to-earth wit make Somme Mud engaging for any reader, while archival photographs, a full glossary and editor Will Davies' explanatory chapter introductions make this edition an illuminating text for students. As well as a memoir of one man's experience of war, Somme Mud is an evocative record of the language and attitudes of early twentieth century Australia.' (From the publisher's website, 2010 ed.)