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Hell's Foundations: A Social History of the Town of Bury in the Aftermath of the Gallipoli Campaign Paperback – June 1, 1993

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (P) (June 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805026525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805026528
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,018,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Lancashire Fusiliers, based in the mill town of Bury in the north of England, was only one of 84 British regiments that saw action at Gallipoli in the WW I Dardanelles campaign, but no others suffered more wounded and dead. The author of this unusual book, born and raised in Bury, grandson of a Gallipoli survivor and acquainted with several of the families whose men were either lost at Gallipoli or returned in damaged condition, eloquently presents the character of the town and its citizens' attitudes toward the battle. In a gently ironic style, he describes the sentimental, uncritical deference to "King and Country" through which the local aristocrats and clergy encouraged the town's young men to seek glory with the Fusiliers. Then we read of the bleak aftermath as many veterans of the ill-fated 1915 expedition struggled with poverty, shell shock and despair while the townspeople raised money for war memorials and continued to express pride in the "boys." Moorhouse ( The Other England ) conveys the horror of war and society's strange impulse to view it in terms of glory. Illustrations.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The 1915 assault on Gallipoli, Turkey was the first of the mass slaughters to imprint itself on this century's consciousness. Grim Bury, home to a regiment that lost nearly 2000 lives at Gallipoli, was that year a settlement of 50,000 chiefly in service to cotton and entirely in thrall to its paternalist landlord. Moorhouse combines a traditional and vivid account of the fighting with narrative social and local history as he assesses the World War I battle's impact on several generations of this community in northern England. Moorhouse ponders the connection between civic culture and commitment, concluding that Bury's early, painful valor was tempered by later discretion. Despite betraying an occasional affinity for imperial pomp, the author, a Bury native and respected travel writer, has drawn on contemporary newspapers and interviews to create a perceptive analysis. This may not find a ready audience in the United States, however, since its focus is not Gallipoli, but an obscure English town. Recommended for libraries with strong World War I or British social history collections.
- Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Pa.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Street on November 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
This marvellous book is not so much about the twentieth century British Army as its relationship with the Britain it served. For not quite a century, until the 1960s, the XX Regiment of Foot, renamed the Lancashire Fusiliers, (but woe betide you if you forgot to lead the title with "XX"), founded in 1688 to fight for William III, was based in and recruited from Wellington Barracks, on the Bolton road in Bury, in Lancashire. In 1915, its already proud service record (Wolfe had been an officer and it had fought at Minden, in the Peninsula and the Crimea) became unique. It was sent in to lead the landings at W Beach, on the Gallipoli peninsula, against prepared Turkish positions and in the teeth of fierce and merciless fire. The landing earned it, despite War Office reluctance, six VCs (two more than the intended statutory maximum for a single action). Moorhouse, a former head Guardian feature writer, whose grandfather was a Lancashire Fusilier, was born in Bolton, went to Bury Grammar school (whose Cadet force had strong links with the regiment), had begun to explore the story and its consequences during the aftermath of the Falklands war, after the Fusiliers had moved from Bury for amalgamation in what became a new Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in Sutton Coldfield, and the town had begun to cope with the end of the cotton industry, the local upheavals of the sixties and a new population mix. He explores the way in which its Gallipoli record became a focus for the civic pride of Bury, and how this worked in a Britain whose officer class was still imbued with the values of the landed gentry, which, in a cotton town like Bury, still took pride of place over an industrial and commercial middle class.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Xerxes on December 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's much more than the story of the battle of Gallipoli, so don't be put off by the subtitle. It's a very human story - a sociology perhaps - of a town whose men went off to war in 1914, what happened to those that stayed, and the few veterans that returned. The author, already an established historian, has very personal connections with Bury and he knows how to recreate in words something about the soul of the place. If, like me, you have an ancestor that fought in the Great War, you'll appreciate what they did even more and better understand the legacy they left you.
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Format: Paperback
An elegiac, highly engaging account of a war's impact on a single community, "Hell's Foundations" probes what happened to an English mining town after the regiment that was based there lost nearly 2,000 men during the failed nine-month assault on Gallipoli.

Geoffrey Moorhouse was the right man to tell the story of Bury, as he grew up there. One of his grandfathers was a Gallipoli veteran, and his 1992 account is so connected to the various aspects of local life that it is engaging despite the overall sadness. There were the losses from battle, and then there were other losses, of broken men and bereaved families. Finally, there was a slow-grinding diminishment of Bury itself, a sense of pervading ennui and loss of morale that brings to mind how the post-World War I era is often described as an Age of Disillusionment.

Gallipoli's legacy was a mixed bag for Bury. It was a crushing defeat for the British and their allies. Moorhouse notes that King George V supposedly shot down an idea to award a campaign ribbon for Gallipoli survivors by declaring "We do not issue medals for retreats." But the legacy of Bury's own regiment, the Lancashire Fusiliers, was positively heroic. Six of their soldiers were awarded Victoria Crosses on a single morning, which would be eventually be trumpeted across England as "Six VCs before breakfast."

"They contributed more than any other single thing to the enduring myth of Gallipoli in Bury and the other traditional recruiting grounds of the Fusiliers; who were, in fact, to win more VCs in the Great War than any other regiment," Moorhouse writes.

Moorhouse brings a gimlet eye to his history, but doesn't lean too hard in terms of passing judgment.
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