In the summer of 1914, the world erupted in what was at the time called The Great War. Machine guns, multi-ton bombs, poison gas, changed the face what war had been like for thousands of years. Rendered it a hell like nothing the world had ever seen. In a single battle, The Somme 1916, over a million soldiers were killed or wounded. By the time it ended four years and four months later more than 16 million people lay dead, empires collapsed and national borders had been realigned. It was thought that after such inhumane cruelty and barbarity as was seen on the battlefields of France, Belgium, Turkey, and other lands spanning the globe, that the world had come its senses. That humanity had finally fought The War to End All Wars. A short generation later The War to End All Wars was renamed, World War One. Because mankind had apparently learned nothing.
This short story is not a history. It is not a precise representation of facts, places, dates, or large-scale events. It is merely the story of the First World War through the eyes of an innocent 19-year-old Canadian boy from the prairies of Alberta. He and the youthful soldiers with him had no concept of the scale of what they were involved in, no clue as to what lay in the heads of the generals and politicians that sent the orders down. He didn't read the newspapers, didn't philosophize on the meaning of it all. He had no "big picture" as the history books paint for us today. All he understood was that he had to obey his orders and stop the Hun. The only picture he saw was one of mud and sweat and rats and blood. He was a soldier whose orders had called his unit out of the comforts of Paris, and sent them to a field near a little Belgian town called Paschendale.
What made the experience of listening to 1917 - A Short Story the most enjoyable?
Hearing the first-person perspective of the nameless soldier, recounting his terrifying experience on the front-line. This grounded the story and made it so real for the listener.
Who was your favorite character and why?
The nameless soldier, simply because he was the central character, and that we could relate to him.
Which character – as performed by Basil Sands – was your favorite?
Again, the nameless soldier. Basil's first-person narrative made him so engaging and he was very well portrayed.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
Very well-written and performed, yet it did have a tendency to go overboard at times. Not for the fainthearted this story, yet it pays its respects to the fallen heroes in moving fashion. Recommended.