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As far as is known, this review was HW's sole contribution to the Guardian.



GARDNER, Brian: The Big Push (Cassell, 1961)




12 May 1961


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This review prompted two letters, one from the author of the book, published on 18 May 1961:


"The big push"


Sir, — In his review of my book on the Battle of the Somme, "The Big Push", Henry Williamson suggests that future historians consult "genuine" war books, i.e. those which, unlike his own novels of the Western Front, were written at the time, as the "weights of memory" are not reliable.


He does not seem to have noticed that, quoting at length, that is exactly what I have done in my book; more so, indeed, than in any other similar account of the Western Front. For I too believe that afterthought, often charged with sentiment and pride, tends to cloud the issues. — Yours &c.,


R. B. Gardner.

c/o Cassell & Co., Ltd.,

London WC1.



Haig's generalship


Sir, — I should like to congratulate Mr. Henry Williamson on his justifiably severe review of "The Big Push", in your issue of May 12. The campaign against Haig, started in malice, has been continued through ignorance, and modern historians of the 1914–18 war choose to concentrate their prejudiced opinions on the Battle of the Somme and Passchendaele. Perhaps one of them will write a book with a full account of the final advance, which began on August 8, 1918, and finished triumphantly on Armistice Day. — Yours &c.,


G. H. Chamberlain.

12, Sandringham Drive,

Liverpool 17.







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