Academic journal article Military Review

SOLDIERS: Fighting Men's Lives, 1901-2001

Academic journal article Military Review

SOLDIERS: Fighting Men's Lives, 1901-2001

Article excerpt

SOLDIERS: Fighting Men's Lives, 1901-2001, Philip Ziegler, Penguin Group, NY, 2003, 331 pages, $14.00.

Philip Ziegler, noted British biographer of Lord Mountbatten and King Edward VIII, turns his attention to other less notable, but nonetheless significant, British fighting men in Soldiers: Fighting Men s Lives, 1901-2001. Ziegler's elegant work deserves reflective consideration.

What docs it mean to have been a soldier? Through the stories of nine men-engineers, artillerymen, infantrymen, and transporters-Ziegler reveals the transforming power and the long-lasting effect of military service. Bound by the common bond of service, these soldiers chose to live out their waning years in the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a British institution roughly analogous to the Army's Soldier's Home, where Ziegler interviewed the men.

Soldiers examines three recurring themes: who soldiers are, why they fight, and how they adjust to life following military service. In answering these questions, Ziegler indirectly traces dissolution of the British Empire. But he does not restrict himself to the mens' military exploits. he details with personality and wit the maturity, adventure, and personal trials that came in equal portions with the men's journeys. …

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