This book is absolutely fabulous and has to be one of the best reads this year. Isobel Charman's 'The Great War. The People's Story' has been released to accompany ITV's series telling the history of the First World War through the diaries and letters of ordinary people. (See an earlier blog entry.) The book does more than four 45 minute programmes could convey. The Great War is told chronologically, skilfully picking up the individual's experience, whether at home or on the Western Front. We learn of the daily difficulties and challenges people faced, the lucky escapes from death, and the sorrow of losing loved ones. Additionally many of the characters seem to have lived, worked or stayed in Essex, which adds to the local story. Central to the book is the Revd. Andrew Clark's diary, so Great Leighs becomes focal of a typical British village.