Books

Lest We Forget

Max Arthur

This skilfully compiled anthology draws on the phenomenally successful Forgotten Voices series. Lest We Forget brings together first-hand recollections from the Great War to the Second World War, to vividly illustrate the impact of war. Told in the actual words of the men, women and children who lived through a century of war it is a moving insight into the greatest conflicts of the twentieth century. The testaments of those who were there depict the horrors of war, yet also provide inspiration with tales of enduring courage, sacrifice and daring. Arranged thematically into chapters such as hope, fear, the kindness of strangers, the human cost and brothers in arms, it reveals the full scope of war in all its stark reality. Evocatively illustrated throughout with line drawings from the Imperial War Museum's archives, it will appeal to anyone wanting to gain an insight into not only specific conflicts, but the overarching and sometimes surprising effects of war in general. Lest We Forget vividly ensures that the wartime experiences of ordinary people will never be forgotten.

Last of the Few

Max Arthur

After the fall of France in May 1940, the British Expeditionary Force was miraculously evacuated from Dunkirk. Britain now stood alone to face Hitler's inevitable invasion attempt.

For the German army to be landed across the Channel, Hitler needed mastery of the skies - the RAF would have to be broken. So every day, throughout the summer, German bombers pounded the RAF air bases in the southern counties. Greatly outnumbered by the Luftwaffe, the pilots of RAF Fighter Command scrambled as many as five times a day and civilians watched skies criss-crossed with the contrails from the constant dogfights between Spitfires and Me-109s. Britain's very freedom depended on the outcome of that summer's battle.

Britain's air defences were badly battered and nearly broken, but against all odds 'The Few', as they came to be known, bought Britain's freedom - many with their lives.

These are the personal accounts of the pilots who fought and survived that battle. We will not see their like again.

Dambusters

Max Arthur

On the night of 16-17 May 1943, nineteen Lancaster bombers from 617 Squadron headed for Germany. Their mission, for which they had been trained under a cloak of absolute secrecy, was to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley and in doing so cripple the Nazi industrial war effort. It was to become one of the most famous raids of WW2.

For the first time, acclaimed oral historian Max Arthur has gathered together the voices of the 'Dambusters', including Guy Gibson, commander of the mission and Barnes Wallis, who developed the iconic Bouncing Bomb. These voices tell of the hard training and sheer bravery that went into this legendary mission. We also hear from the German civilians who suffered the attack, who speak of the devastation that was wrought in their lives. This was a raid like no other, and in this extraordinary collection Max Arthur has created an enduring record of a unique event in British military history.

The Busby Babes

Max Arthur

On 6 February 1958, a plane took off from a snowy Munich airport carrying probably the finest club side the world has ever known. Moments later, the aircraft crashed, killing some of the most legendary names in British football. This book is dedicated to those players - Roger Byrne, Tommy Taylor, the mighty Duncan Edwards and the others whose lives were cut off in their prime - and their indomitable manager, Sir Matt Busby.

Max Arthur has sought out all the players who survived the crash and spoken to the relatives and friends of those who died. From these interviews, sometimes serious but often humorous, he has captured their remarkable spirit and created a unique portrait of all the Busby Babes.

Forgotten Voices of the Second World War (Illustrated)

Max Arthur

This landmark series brought history to life in a way that had never been done before - through the words of ordinary men and women. Their eyewitness accounts tell the story of the Second World War in a way that no other history title can. Now this bestselling book has been edited, adapted and illlustrated to make it more accessible and even more commercial. It is the only history book on the market that consists almost entirely of authentic oral accounts of the Second World War, told in the words of the people who survived it. Divided into three sections, each section is arranged thematically so that readers can find out more about subjects such as what life was really like fighting the Japanese or how women contributed to the war effort. Fully illustrated with photographs from the Imperial War Museum archives, maps and timelines, complete with special features boxes giving additional background information and a glossary, this book is destined to become an essential reference for pupils, teachers and families everywhere.

Forgotten Voices - The Somme and Back to Ypres: July 1916 - July 1917

Max Arthur (and others)

During the dreadful Battle at Verdun, the French command urged the British to ease the pressure, and launch their planned offensive on the Somme. The battle started on July 1st 1916, and in September the British used tanks for the first time. By November, the battlefields were turned into a quagmire, and the offensive was called off. The Allies had advanced six miles, at a cost of 420,000 British and Dominion casualties, and over 200,000 Frenchmen. Throughout the dreadful winter and the spring of '17, relentless fighting continued, exacting a heavy toll of lives. Some of the battle names have come down in history: Vimy Ridge, Arras, Messines, and Menin Road. The summer of 1917 was the wettest for years, and on the 31st July the third battle of Ypres started. Fought in a man-made swamp, there were, altogether some quarter of a million casualties. By now all the participating forces were locked in deadly combat on land, sea and in the air.

Forgotten Voices Of The Great War - The Opening Shots: August 1914 - April 1915

Max Arthur (and others)

During the warm mid summer of 1914 few people suspected that, by August, Europe would be plunged into the bloodiest conflict known to mankind. Patriotic fervour - often misplaced -swept through the participating countries, but the troops dispatched to the battle fronts soon realised that the popular view: "it will all be over by Christmas", was just an optimistic dream. In the face of the relentless German advance into Belgium, the British Expeditionary Force was engaged in the costly retreat from Mons. The German Army soon took Antwerp, and only the "miracle of the Marne" stopped them from marching into Paris. The First Battle of Ypres prevented the Germans from reaching the coast, but both sides dug in and the wretched system of trench warfare was established. Following the extraordinary Christmas truce, ferocious fighting restarted over the snow covered battlefields, and casualties on both sides were heavy. In the late spring of 1915 the second Battle of Ypres took place and the Germans used poison gas for the first time. The toll in killed and wounded was disastrous, the British alone losing 50,000 men; but the Allies finally, managed to halt the enemy advance.

Forgotten Voices Of The Second World War

Max Arthur

The Imperial War Museum holds a vast archive of interviews with soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians of most nationalities who saw action during WW2. As in the highly-acclaimed Forgotten Voices of the Great War, Max Arthur and his team of researchers spent hundreds of hours digging deep into this unique archive, uncovering tapes, many of which have not been listened to since they were created in the early 1970s. The result will be the first complete oral history of World War 2.

We hear at first from British, German and Commonwealth soldiers and civilians. Accounts of the impact of U.S. involvement after Pearl Harbour and the major effects it had on the war in Europe and the Far East is chronicled in startling detail, including compelling interviews from U.S. and British troops who fought against the Japanese. Continuing through from D-Day, to the Rhine Crossing and the dropping of the Atom Bomb in August 1945, this book is a unique testimony to one of the world's most dreadful conflicts. One of the hallmarks of Max Arthur's work is the way he involves those left behind on the home front as well as those working in factories or essential services. Their voices will not be neglected.

Forgotten Voices Of The Second World War: War at Sea and in the Air

Max Arthur (and others)

The first British major success of World War two was when Royal Navy forced the preying pocket Battle ship the Graf Spee, to scuttle at seaHitler had ordered a blockade of the British Isles and for some months German U-boats and warships caused havoc among allied merchant shipping carrying vital supplies. In 1941 the one sided battle of the Atlantic became more even, when the Royal Navy started moving ships in convoy with escorts using radar, and information from British scientists who had cracked the Kreigsmarine version of the Enigma Code captured by the Royal Navy. The perils of the Atlantic were only equalled by the Convoys on the run to northern Russia. Sub-zero temperatures, pack ice and appalling weather conditions plus the menacing Luftwaffe and the German Navy based in Norway, made it one of the most hazardous actions of the entire war. Meanwhile, in the air, bomber planes of the RAF and US air force were incessantly bombarding German Industries and cities. Casualties on the ground were devastating and the life expectancy of the aircrew was alarmingly short. The destruction of communications and armament factories was the main contribution from the bombing campaign.

Forgotten Voices Of The Second World War: War in the Mediterranean

Max Arthur (and others)

When the Italian dictator Mussolini saw that Hitler was conquering Europe he decided that he too, would have a share of the plunder. He declared war on the Allies, vowed to control the Mediterranean, and with his 300,000 troops stationed in Libya, take Egypt and the Suez Canal. But he knew that this could not be accomplished while the strategic island of Malta remained in Allied hands. For the next two years Malta and its people suffered for almost continuous bombardment, but never gave in. In North Africa, because of stubborn Allied resistance, the Italian ambitions where not realised and the Germans led by General Rommel, joined them in campaign. Following months of bitter fighting Rommel's Afrika Corps were only halting just 150 miles from Cario. But after the Allies' victory at El Alamein, General Montgomery's 8th Army drove the Italians and Germans back to Tunisia where, strengthened by the British first army and the U. S. Second corps the Axis troops were driven from North Africa. This opened the way for the Allies to invade Sicily and eventually the Italian mainland.

Forgotten Voices Of The Great War

Max Arthur

This unique landmark oral history uses first-hand accounts from ordinary men and women who were there. Gripping, poignant, surprising and even humorous, the personal experiences of these soldiers, civilians, marines and medics from both sides tell us what it was really like to live through what was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Skilfully assembled by acclaimed author and historian Max Arthur using the IWM’s remarkable sound archive, Forgotten Voices of the Great War became an instant classic on first publication with close to half a million copies sold.

In 1972, the Imperial War Museum began a momentous and important task. A team of academics, archivists and volunteers set about tracing First World War veterans and interviewing them in order to record the experiences of ordinary individuals in war. Since then the Sound Archive has grown to become the largest and most important oral history collections in the world. It now contains over 34,000 recordings, including interviews with veterans of both world wars – both service personnel and non-combatants – recordings relating to Britain and the Empire in the inter-war period 1919–1939, conflicts since 1945 and the Holocaust.

In 2002, Ebury Press published the first edition of Forgotten Voices of the Great War. It was both the first time many of these recordings had been transcribed and published, and the only comprehensive oral history of the First World War. Twelve further books covering aspects of the Second World War, the Falklands and the Victoria Cross followed, selling well over a million copies to date.

Biography

Acclaimed author Max Arthur specialises in first-hand recollections of historical events. Previous titles include The Manchester United Air Crash; Above All Courage; Northern Ireland: Soldiers Talking; Men of the Red Beret; There Shall Be Wings: The RAF 1918 to the Present; The True Glory: The Royal Navy 1914 to Present.