"All Roads Lead to France" describes the Great War's impact on one English community - Bath. The city, dedicated to health, and famed for its architecture, was surrounded by villages devoted to farming or coal-mining. The Great War had a devastating effect on the entire community. Over 1,800 men from the Bath area died in the Great War - more than ...Read More"All Roads Lead to France" describes the Great War's impact on one English community - Bath. The city, dedicated to health, and famed for its architecture, was surrounded by villages devoted to farming or coal-mining. The Great War had a devastating effect on the entire community. Over 1,800 men from the Bath area died in the Great War - more than 2 per cent of the population. Their average age was 27. Abroad, Somerset men fought battles not only on the Western Front, but in Mesopotamia and Palestine. At home, there were battles between jingoists and conscientious objectors. There was industrial unrest, with strikes continuing throughout the war. There were fears of a breakdown of public order- bigamy reached record levels. Illegitimate births led to tragic tales of infanticide, divorce, and even murder. While soldiers struggled against terrible odds in the mud of Flanders, their families battled against poverty and hunger caused by rising prices and rationing. Bath's men went to war - and the war came to the city. There were three aircraft factories in Bath, as well as factories turning out shells, torpedoes, and experimental tanks for the war effort. Tens of thousands of soldiers were billeted in the city; tens of thousands more were cared for at a purpose-built war hospital. Many people lived in constant fear of Zeppelin raids, and a strict blackout was observed. Temperance supporters, however, fought a different campaign against what they saw as a greater enemy than the Kaiser - drink. And after the war came peace - but it was not the time of prosperity which the Tommies had dreamt of as they lay listening to "Whizz-bangs" and thinking of their families. They came back to a land where nothing would ever be the same again. Interweaving letters from the front with stories of life at home, and illustrated with over 300 photographs, many published for the first time, the book creates a vivid picture of what it was like to live through that terrible conflict. It is a story of grief, suffering, and anger - but there is laughter too. And although Dr. Swift has told the story of one community, this is the story, with minor variations, of hundreds of other British towns and cities as they lived through the time when all roads led to France.Read Less
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