The Great War

One Hundred Stories, Of One Hundred Words, Honouring Those Who Lived and Died One Hundred Years Ago

Fiction - Historical - Personage
212 Pages
Reviewed on 02/15/2017
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Author Biography

These stories are an attempt to glimpse into the world of everyday people who were dealing with tragedies and life-changing events on such a scale that it was unprecedented in human history. In many of the stories there is no mention of nationality, in a deliberate attempt to blur the lines between winners and losers, and to focus on the shared tragedies.
This is a tribute to those who endured the Great War and its legacy, as well as a wish that future generations will forge such strong links of friendship that mankind will never again embark on such a destructive journey and will commit to peace between all nations.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Neil A White for Readers' Favorite

The Great War by Dawn Knox is an ambitious undertaking that recounts 100 stories, each told in exactly 100 words, on the 100th anniversary of WWI. At precisely 10,000 words, the book is a quick read, but the scenes that Ms. Knox’s sparse, yet vividly compelling prose evokes will resonate and remain with the reader for far longer. Aiding this imagery is the spacing of the stories; one brief story per page, giving the reader time to reflect before continuing. In fact, The Great War reads more like a book of poetry; if one would ever deign to call trench warfare poetic.

The stories themselves run the gamut of emotions; thoughts of home, thoughts of family members missing loved ones, comradeship on the front lines, the living hell of the trenches, to thoughts on God and the utter futility of their undertaking. And all recounted from the perspective of the English, French and German combatants, whom we learn have much in common.

One short passage sticks with me that perfectly encapsulated the war’s senselessness. Summing up a collective mindset of the combatants at the outset: A way to see the world, a lark, and a war that would soon be over. Only to quickly realize the utter desperation and hopelessness of their situation - if they lived.

“One man arrives in the trenches. He is young, strong and eager to engage in battle. He is warned to keep his head down but it is easy to forget this order when you’re young, strong and eager to engage in battle. Within minutes, the young soldier is dead. Another man arrives, keen to make his mark.”

Ms. Knox has produced a powerful piece of work to starkly remind us that our history should never be forgotten.

Ellie Midwood

I have just recently been re-reading “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque and “The Great War,” which I read right after, reminded me a great deal of it. It has the same incredibly poetic language and the deepest emotions masterfully put in stories counting just a hundred words each. But how profound and touching those hundred words are! I know for a fact that it takes special talent to put the most important snippet from one’s life into a mere hundred words, and I applaud the author for admirably completing such a difficult undertaking.
What is also great about “The Great War” short stories collection is that it shows the war from different sides: soldiers, people waiting for them at home, mail carriers, and the ones who were injured and sent back home. Each story reveals a new horror of the war: a disfigured soldier, a shell-shocked one who is now facing a military tribunal, canary girls who contribute to the war effort even at the cost of their health, a discharged soldier who nearly lost his sight and is now shamed by his female compatriots for not being at the front, a wife with a new baby who doesn’t know if she will ever see her husband again… Each of these one hundred stories will touch your heart and leave you thinking about things that happened almost a hundred years ago and yet are so relevant to this day, and therefore should never be forgotten. Highly recommended to all fans of historical fiction genre!