BY THOMAS O’GRADY
SPECIAL TO THE BIR
For the past few weeks, I have been thumbing back and forth through a massive hot-off-the-press coffee table book, The Great War: a Photographic Narrative. A project of Great Britain’s Imperial War Museums, the book offers a starkly candid photographic record of the horrific reality of life in the various “theatres” that constituted World War I: the trenches and the battlefields of the Western Front, of course, but also the beaches and the slopes of Gallipoli, the Zeppelin-bombed streets of England, the deserts of the Middle East, and the high seas. For the most part, this gathering of images is not for the faint of heart.
Obviously, the publication of this book anticipates the centenary of The Great War—1914-1918. It thus holds intrinsic interest for anyone invested in Irish matters: More than 200,000 Irishmen enlisted in the British forces and more than 30,000 died in combat. No doubt the next four years will see this under-written chapter of Irish history given its long overdue attention—and appropriate commemoration—by scholars, by the Irish government, and by the general public. Read more