Author(s): Mark Bostridge
The Fateful Year by Mark Bostridge is the story of England in 1914. War with Germany, so often imagined and predicted, finally broke out when people were least prepared for it. Here, among a crowded cast of unforgettable characters, are suffragettes, armed with axes, destroying works of art, schoolchildren going on strike in support of their teachers, and celebrity aviators thrilling spectators by looping the loop. A theatrical diva prepares to shock her audience, while an English poet in the making sets out on a midsummer railway journey that will result in the creation of a poem that remains loved and widely known to this day. With the coming of war, England is beset by rumour and foreboding. There is hysteria about German spies, fears of invasion, while patriotic women hand out white feathers to men who have failed to rush to their country's defence. In the book's final pages, a bomb falls from the air onto British soil for the first time, and people live in expectation of air raids. As 1914 fades out, England is preparing itself for the prospect of a war of long duration. Mark Bostridge won the Gladstone Memorial Prize at Oxford University. His first book Vera Brittain: A Life was shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography Prize, the NCR NonFiction Award, and the Fawcett Prize. His books also include the bestselling Letters from a Lost Generation; Lives for Sale, a collection of biographers' tales; Because You Died, a selection of Vera Brittain's First World War poetry and prose; and Florence Nightingale: The Woman and her Legend, which was named as a Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2008 and awarded the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. He is currently consultant on the forthcoming feature film of Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth.
A masterly snapshot of the moment before the world went mad Evening Standard Brisk and enjoyable, full of unexpected fascinations Sunday Times An absorbing kaleidoscope of events and episodes ... Hints, forewarnings, inadvertent prophecies of what was to come spike the air like pollen. There's no doubting this book's eye for a good story, or the skill in telling it Guardian A truly gripping chronicle of the mood of a nation moving unwittingly towards catastrophe. Bostridge moves deftly between public event and vivid personal experience with sympathy and imagination Financial Times A moving and myth-confronting account of 1914, Bostridge invigorates the familiar story of a year of two halves, when seven months of peace gave way to the worst period of conflict in world history. The humanity of this book intensifies the poignancy of hindsight and heightens one's awareness of the anguish felt by those survivors who remained behind -- Juliet Nicolson Telegraph, Book of the Week A wonderfully atmospheric narrative for those who are interested in the period but want more than just trenches and treaties Observer, Book of the Week Spy hysteria, petty disputes, shocking art ... an ingeniously constructed picture of England in 1914 The Times 'Book of the Week' An excellent introduction to this year's centenary of the War To End All Wars and a highly readable account for history buffs Daily Express As Bostridge shows in this beautifully written and detailed book, 1914 was a 'fateful year', England was truly never the same again Independent, Book of the Week Vivid, finely drawn Mail on Sunday
Mark Bostridge won the Gladstone Memorial Prize at Oxford University. His books include Vera Brittain: A Life, shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography Prize, the NCR Non-Fiction Award, and the Fawcett Prize, and Florence Nightingale: The Woman and her Legend, which was awarded the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, and named as a Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2008. He is currently consultant on the forthcoming feature film of Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth.