The narrator pledges to donate 50% of his proceeds to The Royal British Legion Poppy Day Appeal - please support. "In Flanders Fields" is one of the most famous poems of The Great War, written by Lieutenant-Colonel John Alexander McCrae, MD, 1872-1918. It is believed that McCrae wrote the poem after presiding at the funeral of a friend killed during the second Battle of Ypres, in 1915. The poppy grew in abundance in the spoiled earth of the cemeteries and battlefields of Flanders, France.
What made the experience of listening to In Flanders Fields the most enjoyable?
The fit between the narrator's voice and the content of this war poem, coupled with the historical significance of "In Flanders Fields" on the centenary to the Great War made this experience emotional and rewarding.
What other book might you compare In Flanders Fields to and why?
Since this is a poem and not a novel, it is a hard comparison to make. It brings to mind All Quiet on the Western Front, though this poem was written by a soldier of the Allies and the book by a German.
What about Phillip J. Mather’s performance did you like?
His sonorous voice fit the poem perfectly, as it is a call from the dead on the living to carry the torch, to keep fighting. When I listened to the poem for the second and third time, it seemed as if Mr. Mather's voice was coming from far away, as if it really were a call from beyond.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It made me sad knowing how many people died in the Great War. This war, like many others, could have been avoided if saner minds prevailed, so the tragedy of the dead and wounded was well in my mind.
Any additional comments?
I listened to the poem a number of times. I liked it better the more I listened to it, so don't settle for one listen.
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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I would. Phillip Mather’s deep British voice accentuates the solemnity of this classic poem, written by (Doctor) Major John McCrae on the WW1 battlefields, during the second week of fighting at Ypres.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The whole poem is moving, and the knowledge that the death of Major John McCrae's friend Alexis Helmer is believed to have been the inspiration for this poem makes it even more so.
Alexis was killed by an 8” German shell, and in the absence of a chaplain John McCrae said a few words over the grave, passages he remembered from the Church of England's 'Order of Burial of the Dead'.
It is said that he wrote the poem the next day as he was looking at his friend’s grave and the red poppies which were springing up all around.The wooden cross marking his burial spot has been lost in time, however Alexis Helmer’s name is now on Panel 10 of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres. He is just one of the 54,896 soldiers, with no known graves in the battlefields of Ypres Salient.
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