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Accompanying an all-star ITV series, The Great War: The People's Story gives an incredibly personal perspective on the First World War, both at home and at the front, by vividly reconstructing the experiences of individuals through their diaries and letters.

During the First World War three quarters of a million British people died – a figure so huge that it feels impossible to give it a human context. Consequently we struggle to truly grasp the impact this devastating conflict must have had on people's day-to-day lives. We resort to looking at the war from a distance, viewing its events in terms of their political or military significance.

The Great War: The People's Story is different. Like the all-star ITV series it accompanies, it immerses the reader in the everyday experiences of real people who lived through the war. Using letters, diaries, and memoirs – many of which have never previously been published – Isobel Charman has painstakingly reconstructed the lives of people such as separated newly-weds Alan and Dorothy Lloyd, plucky enlisted factory-worker Reg Evans and proudly independent suffragist Kate Parry Frye. A century on, they here tell their stories in their own words, offering a uniquely personal account of the conflict.

The Great War: The People's Story is both a meticulously researched piece of narrative history and a deeply moving remembrance of the extraordinary acts of extremely ordinary people.


Deeply moving, fascinating and powerful.

Sunday Mirror

A handful of people dominate this wonderful book. They are not special or famous but their stories will haunt you for a very long time... Charman's great achievement is to let the people who lived through all this speak for themselves. You will be torn between admiration, pity and anger.

The Herald

This tome lets those who lived through these terrible times tell you how it really was in their own words. From the gung-ho to the fearful, the petty to the practical, the sorrows and the shocks, the pitiful, the heroic, the angry… they put it all down on paper in a way that lets you gauge whether you could have lived through the terror – and be in awe of those who did.

Sunday Sport

This is a deeply sobering, essential read.


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 15, 2015


    544 pages

    RRP $32.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook


    August 7, 2014

    Cornerstone Digital

    544 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
    • iBooks NZ
    • Google Play EBook NZ
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia NZ

Also by Isobel Charman