I have to take a moment between diary entries to give the highest possible recommendation to Percy: A Story of 1918, a book written by historian Peter Doyle and illustrated by Tim Godden.
Based on a true story that took place 100 years ago, the book is about a young Welsh boy – a “pit boy” from a family of coal miners – as he learns of the war and watches his brothers and friends leave the mines to fight and die in Belgium and France.
As the war grinds on, Percy himself becomes (barely) old enough to fight. He leaves his home, the girl he has fallen in love with, everything he knows, to become a soldier.
(Considering the story I’ve been trying to tell here about my grandfather, is it any wonder this book struck such a chord with me?)
I really can’t say enough about this book, but at the same time I don’t want to say too much. It’s for those who know very little about the Great War, those who know all of the dates and battlegrounds, those who know what it’s like to face your fears, those who have ever been young and in love.
Buy it, read it, spread the word.