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Kitchener's Mob, Adventures of an American in the British Army

James Norman Hall

Book Overview: 

“Pvt Ryan”, “Platoon”, “A Soldier’s Home”, “Kitchener’s Mob”. These aren’t happy stories, they are about the experience of War. War at different times, and although modern warfare may be more sanitized, the adventure, the horror, the emotions don’t change. James Norman Hall has been there. He “Saw the Elephant”, and his portrayal of his WWI experience is a tribute to those ordinary people who do such extraordinary things.

Those who have served will identify with at least some part if not all of this book, be it the rigors of training, the camaraderie, or possibly those memories that try as you may, you can never make go away. Those who haven’t may gain insight and possibly more respect for those who have.

Tommy Atkins is a universal soldier, be he the cook that serves up a hot meal, the sniper that keeps score on the stock of his rifle, or the machine gunner who hates his job.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .It was stamped with his name, regimental number, regiment, and religion. A first-aid field dressing, consisting of an antiseptic gauze pad and bandage and a small vial of iodine, sewn in the lining of his tunic, completed the equipment.

Physically, the men were "in the pink," as Tommy says. They were clear-eyed, vigorous, alert, and as hard as nails. With their caps on, they looked the well-trained soldiers which they were; but with caps removed, they resembled so many uniformed convicts less the prison pallor. "Oversea haircuts" were the last tonsorial cry, and for several days previous to our departure, the army hairdressers had been busily wielding the close-cutting clippers.

Each of us had received a copy of Lord Kitchener's letter to the troops ordered abroad, a brief, soldierlike statement of the standard of conduct which England expected of her fighting men:—

You are ordered abroad as a soldier of the King t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A very real, first hand account of the face of the British soldier in WWI

The author of this short autobiographical description of life in the trenches during World War I is James Norman Hall. He went on to team with Charles B. Nordhoff and write some of the most successful works of historical fiction of the 1930s, including Mutiny on the Bounty, The Hurricane, and Botany

Very easy read, although the Cockney slang may baffle many. Typical of JN Hall's clear prose, which is flows well, yet carries much emotional impact. A great description of life in the trenches and the anonymity of the horrors of death there.

This is a well written account of an American soldier serving in the British army in the early days of The Great War. He recounts experiences from enlistment through training and into the trenches. His accounts of the combat are particularly well done and deliver an appreciation for both the physica