I was very pleased with how the reviewer used passages from the book to support their insightful understanding of the book's passages.
I opened this manuscript expecting a novel constructed around the framework of Captain (then artilleryman) Coxen. However, I found the actual journal entries, and they are more powerful than any novelist could fictionalize."
"In addition to the transcription of his grandfather's journal, Rick Coxen provides us with commentary about the battles, the war, some of the weapons Captain Coxen refers to, and his own experiences researching both the war and his grandfather's mates. Because of this, and the fact that he ad to clarify or guess at some of the entries, he originally thought to present it as historical fiction. However, this is truly a memoir and a powerful one, not only of his grandfather's experiences but his own in uncovering a lot and forgotten past."
"Despite his classic British stoicism, Coxen inwardly weeps for his mates, the obscene loss of life, the horrific, grizzly effects of modern technology pitted against antiquated battle strategies. His loneliness away from his wife and baby daughter makes it but once or twice onto the page. He peppers his observations with his dry British whit, but his yearning to end the madness and go home bleeds through as subtext. When the journal entries stop abruptly just when the German begin chemical warfare, it comes as a relief."
"Rick Coxen provides excellent back story on the war, as well as commentary on his own search for his grandfather's trench mates. Unfortunately, like the war, few definitive answers are reached, but Rick's greater understnading of and connection to his grandfather makes the journey one worth taking."
"Bottom line: This is not a historian's book or a novelist's book. One cannot call it brilliantly executed. However, it is a good book and one people should read, discuss, and share. They need to keep it on their shelves to be reminded of the horrors of war, the futility of sending millions of men to their deaths, and the up-close-and-personal we too often forget when analyzing battle strategies and politics and who assassinated whom."