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The Angel of Mons: Phantom Soldiers and Ghostly Guardians Hardcover – June 14, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0470862773 ISBN-10: 0470862777 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470862777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470862773
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,275,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"South Yorkshire ghohstbuster David Clarke has released his latest book about spooky angel soldiers..." (Star (Barnsley), 7 May 2004)

"...an indispensable digest of original accounts...intelligent, original look at Mons's angelic hosts..." (Fortean Times, August 2004)

"...a fine book...a fascinating exposure of the lines between fact and myth..." (Yorkshire Post, 19th June 2004)

"...one fascinating example of how rumour can spread..." (Manchester Evening News, Sat 24th July 04)

"...a rich, fascinating account of myth, propaganda and big shining angels..." (The Crack, September 04)

"...A beautifully produced book, lucidly written, and with fascinating illustrations...highly recommended" (Shooters Journal)

"...the best work to date...a splendid example of folk-lore..." (Northern Earth)

"...establishes beyond doubt that the 'Angel of Mons' is a 22 carat, solid gold myth..." (The Northern Echo, 9th August 2005)

From the Inside Flap

In August 1914, as the British Expeditionary Force marched through Belgium to meet up with French forces, they suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves confronted by the main thrust of the advancing German army. Although they were vastly outnumbered, this highly-trained force of army regulars held off the attack so effectively that the Germans remained unaware of the tiny size of the force that opposed them. It was in these extreme circumstances that the wounded and dying soldiers were said to have seen strange angelic forms in the sky that protected them from slaughter. In the years that followed, tales of 'angels at Mons' were widely reported in the press and quickly spread throughout the Empire. The story entered popular culture with amazing speed and lives on today in folklore and legend. Many veterans of the war and thousands on the Home Front continued to believe in the Angel of Mons for the rest of their lives.

In this fascinating investigation David Clarke examines the history of such wartime legends and explores the likely truth behind the myth.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Bornus on September 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
The legend is that during a massive WWI German attack at Mons, just as the retreating Tommies were in danger of annihilation, a spectral army (St. George and angels in one version, or a force of medieval bow-men in another) appear and break the German attack. But did this really happen?

Clarke's book digs into all the details behind what really happened that day at Mons in August 1914, going beyond all the second- and third-hand sources to trace what can really be known from eyewitnesses. He reconstructs the history in which a valiant British rearguard action succeeds in slowing the German advance, because the Germans are unfamiliar with the rapid-fire weaponry of the British and incorrectly believe that the British have reinforcements entering the battle. Afterwards, some battle-fatigued British troops talk of a "light" or "glowing cloud" which they saw in the sky during the battle.

Meanwhile, a British journalist named Arthur Machen has written an obscure piece of fiction titled "The Bowmen" which is published in a British newspaper. In times desperate for hope during a dark period of the war, the story is seized upon and retold and embellished as truth, combining with "friend of a friend" accounts and some deliberate embellishment to grow into the legend of the Angels of Mons. The author examines the possibility that the legend was a product of British propaganda efforts to build morale among the people. Meanwhile, the hapless Machen watches his creation take on a life of its own as, despite his continuous protestations that his story was complete fiction, others assure him that it must indeed be true.

This book is a very interesting look at the development of what may be one of the first "urban legends" of the modern industrial age. The author briefly relates it to later legends surrounding WWII, UFO's and 9/11.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By CSS on January 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent book examining the 'Angel of Mons'. The account is well researched and fully referenced. The evidence is fully traced and examined within the context and themes of the time. While books with similar titles may have an agenda, the author is only interested in a fair and thorough examination of the evidence.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Indio Bk Luvr on July 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable read. Mr. Clarke has provided a thorough and interesting book on a topic not discussed in much detail in other collections on The Great War.
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By marc on September 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
strange story,,i don't know if it is real story
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