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Publisher's Summary

A moving and surprising memoir of an ordinary soldier in the First World War.

'Ella darling, There are things I have concealed from you up till now that I think you ought to know; things that have turned me from a different person from the Ronald you know.'

So, in April 1918, Ronald Skirth, a non-commissioned officer in the Royal Artillery, wrote to his sweetheart, back in England. A year before, Skirth, then just 19 years old, had been sent to fight on the Western Front. This is his story, the story of a young man who went to war a devoted servant of King and country and returned utterly convinced that war, all war, was wrong and who acted upon his convictions, making a pact with God that he would not kill. This riveting memoir was written fifty years after the end of the war, drawing on his own contemporary diary entries and letters home. With this abridged audio edition, it affords a vivid, moving and surprising insight into that most dreadful of conflicts.

©2011 Macmillan Publishers (P)2011 Macmillan Publishers

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  • Overall
  • Mr.
  • 01-27-12

The Reluctant Tommy

A moving story extremely well read.
Rather too much stress laid on the author's religious stance but I suspect some of this may be explained by the interval between actual events and the story being committed to paper.
The combat experiences and the author's dealings with and treatment by the officer class made one's flesh creep and hanker for retribution against the latter .

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  • martin
  • 11-19-13

Absolutely Magnificant Book

Would you consider the audio edition of The Reluctant Tommy to be better than the print version?

Very moving and painfully honest account of life of an educated working class man serving in the killing fields of flanders and Passchandaele in the First World War. Skirth gives a brutally honest account of his experiences, his fallen and surviving comrades and the love he has for his wife to be. The author outlines dramatically yet realistically his views on the futility of the first world war and the absolute lack of compassion by his superiors from his commanding officer to the Generals who led a whole lost generation to their graves. If ever there was a book to confirm the phrase " Lions led by Donkeys" this is it. Truly recommend.<br/><br/>Also the book is very well narrated.

What did you like best about this story?

The way the story is described with honesty and integrity

What does Daniel Weyman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Very well narrated. Movingly narrated.

Any additional comments?

A must read

  • Overall
  • D. J. Wilkinson
  • 12-24-12

Really interesting and a good listen

This is well worth downloading if you are interested in the War to end all wars (I wish). A personal account of the ethical struggle of one soldier as his principles deepen as the war develops. It's also a love story. I was captivated from the start and felt quite sad when the book closed as I wanted to hear more from Ronald Skirth. Recommended