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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
In Australian history you hear much about the WW1 Diggers. They contributed much to our national self image. This book, written 90 years ago by one, paints a picture of circumstances and people Australians 'remember' and in adversity aspire to be.

Perhaps for those reasons, its description as Australia's 'All Quiet on the Western Front' is an understatement...
Published on September 28, 2008 by Andrew J. Moran

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fictionalized Fact or Historically Correct?
Quite frankly, I find myself in a dilemma because I am not sure whether this book is History or Fictionalized History
Make no mistake; it is a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I began to have doubts when Bill Gammage in the Forward compared the book favorably to Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front", which is a work of fiction based on actual...
Published on April 26, 2012 by Dr. James J. Good


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, September 28, 2008
This review is from: Somme Mud (Hardcover)
In Australian history you hear much about the WW1 Diggers. They contributed much to our national self image. This book, written 90 years ago by one, paints a picture of circumstances and people Australians 'remember' and in adversity aspire to be.

Perhaps for those reasons, its description as Australia's 'All Quiet on the Western Front' is an understatement. Notwithstanding my obvious bias, it's a well worthwhile read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revealing account of trench warfare, June 2, 2009
By 
This review is from: Somme Mud, The War Experiences of an Australian Infantryman in France 1916-1919 (Paperback)
Overall, a very intriguing book. It is very authentic in terms of the language of the times - in terms of descriptions of racial groups but also in general terms, though there is very little swearing. The author writes in the first person and even though he adopts the persona of 'Nulla' I had the feeling he virtually told his own story as he directly experienced it. I found though that aside from the actual description of events, it was a little difficult to engage with some things. For instance, all of Nulla's friends are referred to only by their nicknames. We learn very little about them and I found it hard to connect with these. They almost seemed like caricatures and I didn't have the same sense of concern/care for them as I would have liked or have become used to with more modern texts.

This said, we see the horrors of war through them. Without giving things away - they are all at least wounded (at least once) during the course of the book. Yet, the death count is not as severe as I'd expected. This may have been Lynch's purpose to minimise the extent of this experience but it also rings true. Some platoons were slaughtered. Some, like individuals, got lucky. Lynch's battalion overall suffered greatly though. He recounts that of his reinforcement of over 250, only 19 are there at the end. The scale of death is also evident in his accounts of the big battles, which always leave many dead. Even short stints in quiet parts of the line resulted in several dozen casualties.

As for the level of detail, the level of fiction aside, Lynch regularly recounts which battalion they relieved and who relieved them. The day to day life and fighting are riven with references to the mud. It is clear why it features in the title and clearly stayed with Lynch throughout his life - it is everywhere, all the time. The awfulness of living in it constantly is made very clear. As for combat, the stories are Ok, though a bit short on detail. Perhaps due to my issues with the way he reveals his mates, I rarely found the descriptions gripping, though 'Longun's' bayonet duel with a 'big Fritz officer' was a corker! This said, Lynch does not shy away from describing the effects of wounds. Once again, I had the sure impression he was describing things he saw with his own eyes - and wished he hadn't. I also liked the way he described events out of the line - scrounging for food mostly and the relationships with officers. Not too matey but professional and admiring for the great part too.

Surprisingly, my favourite part of the book was the part that concerned occupation duty, demob and going home. You just don't read anything about this! And while I may have failed to really engage in most of the text, it had me with a tear in my eye when I read of his poignant homecoming. Perhaps it had me all along and it just needed this extra special piece to bring it out.

Anyway, I recommend this book. I think it gives a very true picture of the trench war - particularly regarding the mud!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War books, July 11, 2012
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This review is from: Somme Mud, The War Experiences of an Australian Infantryman in France 1916-1919 (Paperback)
This is the best WW1 book written, equal too "all quiet on the western front", but without the poetic feel. Easily read by anyone who has an interest in the horror of trench warfare & wants to understand why it achieved nothing in the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody trench warfare, December 6, 2010
By 
Dr Neil MacNeill "Dr Neil MacNeill" (Ellenbrook, Western Australia, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Somme Mud, The War Experiences of an Australian Infantryman in France 1916-1919 (Paperback)
Somme Mud (Edward Lynch) Edited by Will Davies

The pure horror of trench warfare is brought home strongly in this book.
Private Lynch was eighteen years old when he volunteered for the Australian Imperial Forces, for overseas service. A typical Aussie, Lynch was sent to England and then across the channel to France. Messines, Passchendaele, Villiers Bretonneux and Hamel were the stuff of legends, and Lynch survived the machine guns, snipers, the cold, the mud, the artillery and gas attacks.

Private Lynch (1898-1980) wrote in the first person, using the alter ego- Nulla. While this style of writing removes the text from the dry history genre, the minutiae were reconstituted when Lynch wrote the notes that formed the book sometime later. The main characters in the book have never been identified.

I read the abridged edition, aimed at secondary school students, and that was graphic enough. Students reading this story will find all of the dimensions of our bloody battles in France and Belgium put together in a realistic package, and they will come away from this encounter with a better understanding of war, death and survival.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight in to the hell in Europe 1914/18, January 8, 2013
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This review is from: Somme Mud (Kindle Edition)
Good to read first hand how our troops felt in that terrible time. Great to be transported to the mindset & times of almost 100 yrs ago. Easy to read & moves along well.In some ways the more things change the more they stay the same.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fictionalized Fact or Historically Correct?, April 26, 2012
By 
Dr. James J. Good (Fredericksburg, Va United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Somme Mud, The War Experiences of an Australian Infantryman in France 1916-1919 (Paperback)
Quite frankly, I find myself in a dilemma because I am not sure whether this book is History or Fictionalized History
Make no mistake; it is a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I began to have doubts when Bill Gammage in the Forward compared the book favorably to Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front", which is a work of fiction based on actual experiences.

If this book is History, why not compare it to Ernst Junger's "Storm of Steel" . Note that Junger kept extensive diaries during the War. As far as I can tell, and I have spent a great deal of time looking, Lynch did not.
Lynch writes his memoir in 20 exercise books in 1921. The elapsed time between the occurrence of events and the writing of those events is between 3 and 5 years.

Lynch's account is so detailed as to preclude post action remembrance.dating to 1921.
Either he kept a diary as Junger did or he reported a conflation of characters and events.

I very much believe that Lynch experienced what he wrote; however I find it difficult to believe that what he wrote is not fictionalized.

If anyone has evidence to the contrary of what I have written, please feel free to speak. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would feel much better if I knew that Edward kept a diary.

Best regards,
James
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4.0 out of 5 stars Clear-eyed look through the mud, October 3, 2014
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This review is from: Somme Mud (Kindle Edition)
EPF Lynch, though not a "literary gent" has an extraordinary facility for evocative description of this most horrendous of atrocities, World War 1. That this work lay like an undisclosed gem for so long is amazing. At a time when there are too many politicians making at times self serving speeches about the horror of that War it is powerful stuff to hear a voice from the grave who was there in the mud. In the writing it reminded me of the wide-eyed but wholly engaged style of Bert Facey in "A Fortunate Life" though the writing is even better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping account of long ago events., October 2, 2014
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This review is from: Somme Mud (Kindle Edition)
This book is clearly and engagingly written about events happening a century ago. In contrast to other books that merely recount dull sequences of events, reading this account brings these events to life. Three of my uncles shared these experiences and recalling their stories of these days the events recorded in this book from the view of the private soldier ring true. Let us pray, as they did, that nothing like this ever happens again!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Snapshot of our History, January 16, 2012
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This review is from: Somme Mud, The War Experiences of an Australian Infantryman in France 1916-1919 (Paperback)
The conflict known as World War I happened almost a hundred years ago so all combatants have now passed on and succeeding generations have little knowledge of what the soldiers - on both sides - had to endure. This book is a superb insight from a common soldier who fought & survived that terrible conflict. It should be essential reading for every teenager in Australia, if not the World!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, June 24, 2014
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This review is from: Somme Mud (Kindle Edition)
A very matter of fact record of one mans experience of war. Well worth reading. To all the mates who were left behind.
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