If Ye Break Faith

This blog is dedicated to the promotion of educating about the Canadian experience of World War One. To discover who we are as a nation in the 21st Century, we must understand our past.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Notes for a Weekend In

For the first five days, I am really quite pleased at the early results from Operation AMPLIFY.  These numbers notwithstanding, there is a lot more yet to achieve, so I know that time over the weekend for me means time to think on how I can improve the reach scope and response of this project.  If anyone has any input, now would be the time.  I have yet to have a single respondent to my request for volunteer logo design.  I wouldn't ask if I could do it myself.  I leave only a link to our Promotional Video to prove my inadequacies at design.  Contributions are also behind.  Please visit our funding project at IndieGoGo and give if you can.  Don't be put off by the lofty goal I've set on that site, by the way.  Our immediate concern is the $1 000 prudent reserve needed to push through our registration documents. Regardless, show your support for If Ye Break Faith and Operation AMPLIFY by joining the Facebook Event Page.  It's an open invite, so all are welcome to join.  Important news and updates with regards the development of the operation will be posted through there.

I had wanted to engage in a bit of an interview with someone in my network to have that as today's update, but I think I need to allow a little more lead time.  I wanted to discuss the great work being done to assemble The Great War's Essential Reading List; found here.  It contains a catalogue of nearly 1400 titles pertaining to study of the First World War, on a wide variety of subjects and selection of languages.  The list is quite comprehensive, the books within it described well and is updated surprisingly often.  Prior to Remembrance Week, they held a user poll to determine the top twenty-five books within the list.  Many books I have gone to to make reference, or may have read for my own enjoyment found their way to that top twenty-five, and I always have opportunity to learn about aspects of the war my focus of study tends to overlook.

I love books.  I don't own a lot of fancy things, I haven't terribly posh tastes- in my estimation I own nothing more valuable than my books.  The enjoyment I get by looking at them, happily organised in their ranks on my shelves is something I fail to explain adequately to others that doesn't leave them with quizzical looks and questions of my sanity.  About fifteen years ago, my great-uncle gave me a gift of a book that detailed the organisation of the Scottish regiments.  He added a dedication to me in which he mentioned that he hoped this book would make an excellent addition to my library.  I looked at my shelves bulging with titles, and realised for the first time that a library is what I had.  I'd rarely felt so fulfilled.  While I do own an e-reader, and like the fact that I can cram ten times as many books as I now own onto the thing, I don't think I will ever be prepared to give up on the aesthetic quality of a weighty leaf of bound pages; something to be pulled from a shelf, admired, thumbed through with a look, feel and smell of its own.

To that end, I'm looking out my window at a steel-grey December sky.  Occasionally a lone flurry will break loose and gravitate wistfully towards the earth, each one carrying the threat that more will follow.  It is still and cold and spare.  Along with thinking on how to bring AMPLIFY through its second week, I imagine that I shall spend a great deal of time this weekend with one of my favourites: "The Western Front" by Richard Holmes.  Brig. Holmes is one writer of history I particularly admire.  His narrative style and desire to tell personal stories from contemporary sources is one I would wish to emulate.  His career was quite prolific, and there are a number of titles he wrote on a wide variety of historical subjects.  Of any I have read, they are all fantastic.  Brig. Holmes passed away just this last April, but he's left a respectable body of work to be fondly remembered for.  "The Western Front" could best be described as a 'primer' on the war as it was in Europe from 1914-1918.  It is simple without being simplistic, and in my opinion, a great starting point for someone interested in the war who hasn't studied it extensively.  Brig. Holmes doesnt' just relate fact, though.  He often brings up points of contention or long standing controversy, explains them and possible conclusions in an understandable fashion.  When I speak of having history appeal to a wider audience, it's to writers like Brig. Holmes I look to for inspiration.  Have a good weekend, folks, I shall see you all here (and with luck a whole bunch of new followers, too) Monday.

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