I was pointed in the direct of this book via a different social networking site, and I’m glad that I took the time to read the book and review. The author, Scott Addington (biography below), put together an ebook describing his charity ride along the entire WWI Western Front. Just under 600 miles of gruelling terrain and breathtaking countryside.
The book is short, around 100 pages I believe, and feels like a humorous diary. There’s an easy tone in Scott’s authorial voice, and I found it to be a smooth read. It disheartening and all too real to read about how some companies failed to put their hand in their pocket. Every penny helps, and for large corporations, charity donations are tax deductible, so in some ways – there’s no excuse… Anyway, back to the book.
The first section fully explains the route he took (with his friend Steve) and then comes the day by day diary of cycling and interaction with the locals. This was fun, but for me – the real interest comes with the biographies of fallen soldiers, their photos and then pictures of their graves. It’s amazing to read about heroes, real heroes, not celebrities, and being reminded that these men sacrificed their lives for their country. Poignant.
Personally, I think including photos of the gravestones was a great contrast to the joviality of the first third of the diary. It reminds the reader just why Scott and Steve put themselves through the challenge: Money for the British Legion – a fine, fine charity.
I’m glad I have a copy, and I’m a little sad that I was given a copy for free to review, because I want to donate to the charity. The ebook is priced at £2.50 and at least £1 goes to the British Legion. I fully intend to speak to Scott about donating, and when I hear back – I’ll add more to this post.
Scott Addington runs Military Research UK, a company specialising in uncovering family heroes and has always been fascinated by the individual stories that make up the wider picture of military history. This intrigue lead him to find out more about the men behind the medals in books such as ‘For Conspicuous Gallantry…’ and the soon to be published ‘Britain’s Bravest Soldiers – The First World War’.
As well as the personal stories, Scott is on a mission to open up whole subject of the First World War to children, teenagers and adults alike who would not necessarily read 900 page epics on the subject. His latest work, ‘World War One: A Layman’s Guide’ is a perfect introduction to the subject and his ‘The Great War 100’ project of telling the story of the First World War using infographics (via an iOS/Android app and a subsequent book) has won many plaudits.
In 2009, Scott cycled the entire Western Front trench line system (550 miles) raising several thousand pounds for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal and in the spring of 2013 plans to do another ride for charity, this time even longer and more crazy than the last one.
You can follow Scott on Twitter: @military_search and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/militaryresearchuk