It’s nothing short of an honour to take part in the BlogTour for From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron.
In September 2019, to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, IWM will launch a wonderful new series with four novels from their archives all set during the Second World War – Imperial War Museums Wartime Classics.
Originally published to considerable acclaim, these titles were written either during or just after the Second World War and are currently out of print. Each novel is written directly from the author’s own experience and takes the reader right into the heart of the conflict. They all capture the awful absurdity of war and the trauma and chaos of battle as well as some of the fierce loyalties and black humour that can emerge in extraordinary circumstances.
Living through a time of great upheaval, as we are today, each wartime story brings the reality of war alive in a vivid and profoundly moving way and is a timely reminder of what the previous generations experienced.
The remarkable IWM Library has an outstanding literary collection and was an integral part of Imperial War Museums from its very beginnings. Alan Jeffreys, (Senior Curator, Second World War, Imperial War Museums) searched the library collection to come up with these four launch titles, all of which deserve a new and wider audience. He has written an introduction to each novel that sets them in context and gives the wider historical background and says, ‘Researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.
Each story speaks strongly to IWM’s remit to tell the stories of those who experienced conflict first hand. They cover diverse fronts and topics – preparations for D-Day and the advance into Normandy; the war in Malaya; London during the Blitz and SOE operations in occupied Europe and each author – three men and a woman – all have fascinating back stories. These are Second World War novels about the truth of war written by those who were actually there.
About the Author
Alexander Baron was a widely acclaimed author and screenwriter and his London novels have a wide following. This was his first novel.
During the Second World War he served with the Pioneer Corps in Sicily, Italy and northern France, basing From the City, From the Plough on his experiences of the D-Day Landings and the allied advance into Normandy.
About the book
From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron – A vivid and moving account of preparations for – and the advance into Normandy. Published in the 75th anniversary year of the D-Day landings, this is based on the author’s first-hand experience of D-Day and has been described by Antony Beevor as‘undoubtedly one of the very greatest British novels of the Second World War.’
Let me just start off by saying that although these Wartime Classics are being issued to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World, they should be read at any time, not just special anniversaries, in fact they should be part of the school curriculum. Part of a learning experience to teach the younger generations what so many brave men and women fought so hard for and how many of them gave their lives.
Another reason why this literature is so important is the authenticity, especially when it comes to this book. Baron spoke and wrote from experience and not just second-hand emotions, hear-say and experiences. He was there, he lived and breathed the pain, camaraderie and the death.
It’s both bizarre and a great shame that first-hand accounts are read less than those written with no first-hand experience.
We follow the Fifth Battalion, Wessex Regiment as they train and wait for D-Day. Then follow them through the horror of the beach landing and their descent into mayhem, death and battle. Men from every walk of life, who learn that they share one important thing in common. They are indeed a band of brothers. Brothers who support and protect each other, live together and die together.
I held it together until chapter twenty-two and twenty-three just made me cry. I can’t even fathom what it must be like to know you are nothing more than bullet fodder and a distraction ploy to ensure another battalion achieves a victory. These men still adhered to the orders, despite knowing what the outcome would be.
It’s an incredibly moving, authentic and well-written piece of historical war fiction based on factual experiences. It’s powerful and unforgettable. I will be buying all four of these books and also gifting them to others.
Buy From the City, From the Plough at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.Imperial War Museum Wartime Classics will all be on sale Thursday 26 September 2019; cost £8.99 paperback. Buy at Amazon com.
On the Imperial War Museums -IWM
IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.
Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.
IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, IWM’s flagship branch that recently transformed with new, permanent and free First World War Galleries alongside new displays across the iconic Atrium to mark the Centenary of the First World War; IWM North, housed in an iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.