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They Shall Grow Not Old
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224pp. 1997
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They Shall Grow Not Old

Irish soldiers and the Great War

Myles Dungan

History might have ignored the fact that more than a quarter of a million Irishmen (a majority of them nationalists) fought in the Great War but it could no longer be denied. The publication in 1996 of Dungan's Irish Voices from the Great War contributed to the increasing awareness of the injustice done to the Irishmen of the 1914-18 War. This companion volume uses the same type of material (letters, diaries, memoirs, personal interviews) to advance that process. And to those not aware, the title of the book is taken from a Lawrence Binyon poem called 'The Fallen'.

Although the book deals with things which affected all soldiers during the Great War, it focuses on the thoughts and emotions of Irish volunteers - the mundane horror of life in the trenches, the role of chaplains, the experiences of Irish war writers, the plight of prisoners of war and the stories of those who were 'shot at dawn'.

Here are the voices of ordinary soldiers providing authentic, if often subjective, commentaries on a disillusioning war in which there were no winners.

Myles Dungan, author of Irish Voices from the Great War (1996), is one of Ireland's best-known broadcasters. He is also a graduate of University College Dublin

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