Launch Info: “The Secret Battle” by A. P. Herbert

Congratulations to Linda Ham for winning The Secret Battle giveaway!

Cover by Corey Parson

Originally published in 1919, The Secret Battle honestly portrays the mental horrors World War I inflicted upon soldiers. Though not autobiographical, character Harry Penrose follows the experiences of author A. P. Herbert, who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign. Penrose’s trial is likely based on that of Sub-Lieutenant Edwin Dyett, an officer who was court martialed and executed for desertion in 1916. Considered a literary masterpiece, The Secret Battle is an early example of war literature, showcasing the importance of a soldier’s mind as well as his body, and deserves “a permanent place in war literature” (Winston Churchill, from the 1988 Oxford University Press edition).

The Secret Battle (978-1-940771-38-0) releases May 28, 2018. It is a 6×9 paperback. Part of the UNG Press’ World War I series, it will make the perfect addition to any historian’s collection. It can be purchased through Ingram, Amazon, and other major retailers for $24.95.

Can’t wait? Check out our other exciting The Secret Battle events. Leave a comment below or visit us at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more.

• Mar 21 — Cover Reveal
• Apr 4 — Press Release
• Apr 25— “Editing and Annotating The Secret Battle” by Ed. Austin Riede
• May 2 — Editor Interview
• May 2 — Giveaway Begins
• May 9 — Sample Chapter
• May 16 — “Shell Shock in The Secret Battle” by Ed. Austin Riede
• May 23 — Launch Info
• May 28 — Book Release

New Release: “The Secret Battle” by A. P. Herbert

The University of North Georgia Press is releasing a new edition of The Secret Battle by A. P. Herbert, edited with annotations by Dr. Austin Riede on May 28, 2018.

Originally published in 1919, The Secret Battle honestly portrays the mental horrors World War I inflicted upon soldiers. The tale follows Harry Penrose, an Oxford student who enlists in 1914. Penrose is a hard worker, modest and dutiful, but he struggles to cope with the toll of war. During the Battle of Gallipoli, he seeks refuge to avoid shellfire, but another office sees him and accuses Penrose of deserting his post. Court martialed and branded a coward, Penrose is betrayed by the very system for which he fought.

Though not autobiographical, Penrose and the narrator follow experiences of A. P. Herbert who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign. Penrose’s trial is likely based on that of Sub-Lieutenant Edwin Dyett, an officer who was court martialed and executed for desertion in 1916. Considered a literary masterpiece, The Secret Battle is an early example of war literature, showcasing the importance of a soldier’s mind as well as his body, and deserves “a permanent place in war literature” (Winston Churchill, from the 1988 Oxford University Press edition).

We look forward to publishing The Secret Battle, out May 28, 2018. While you wait, don’t miss out on our other exciting The Secret Battle events:

• Mar 21 — Cover Reveal
• Apr 4 — Press Release
• Apr 25— “Editing and Annotating The Secret Battle” by Ed. Austin Riede
• May 2 — Editor Interview
• May 2 — Giveaway Begins
• May 9 — Sample Chapter
• May 16 — “Shell Shock in The Secret Battle” by Ed. Austin Riede
• May 23 — Launch Info
• May 28 — Book Release

Over the Top

War has changed radically over the last century, and it all started with the first modern war, World War I. In April, the Press released the first in a series of publications, The Doughboy Series, commemorating this world-changing time.

WWI enthusiasts know that it can be a challenge to find something written during the war, about the war, by a WWI veteran. Over the Top is a wonderful exception. Guy Empey released his book only a few weeks after America declared war on Germany, making it an immediate hit. Little boys wanted to hear about the glories of battle, soldiers wanted to know what to expect from someone who had been there, and families everywhere wanted to find out more about what the men in their lives would be walking into.

Now we have live news and interviews from the center of any conflict around the world, and the average person can discover anything they might like to know with just a few taps on a keyboard. Every time I watch the news, I am amazed by how destructive humanity has become. Wars around the world kill two people every minute with their machine guns and bombs (BBC News). Over the Top is perceived differently than it was when it first came out a century ago. War was an overwhelming presence for Americans in the early twentieth century. It was unavoidable and looming on the horizon for years before America officially joined the conflict.

Whereas the American people then knew a fear of war, now we know a fear of terror. We now fear a senseless death that could be avoided if only we choose not to go to the mall, the supermarket, or even school. The times are different, and Over the Top can give readers a first-hand account of a time and culture that they may never be able to understand from personal experience.

When Over the Top came out, it was poignant and readable, but now it’s showing its age. David Scott Stieghan, the United States Army Infantry Branch Historian at Fort Benning, GA, has revisited this book to make it more accessible to the average present-day reader. He clarifies some outdated language, explains more about Empey’s life and his reasons for writing, and contextualizes the history and environment that surrounded soldiers at all times.

We at the Press know that you will love this 100th anniversary edition of Over the Top as much as we do, and we look forward to commemorating World War I together.

A Look at Trench Warfare in “Over the Top”

 

Trench warfare is a type of war strategy involving both sides digging deep trenches to defend against the enemy. In the fifty years leading up to World War I (WWI), there were many technological advances in modern warfare, making WWI a war fought in fire power–more than any past war preceding it. On the battlefield, there was only one surefire way to avoid machine guns, and that was by taking cover in the ground. What started as glorified ditches transformed into what we know as trenches throughout the course of the war, slowly turning into a curvy labyrinth covering whole fronts. The land in between was called “No Man’s Land.” The typical trench was around twelve feet deep and dug by soldiers. The western front in France was fought and defended using trench warfare; both sides were so well defended that not much land was gained or lost on either side for long, which is why the front was called a stalemate.

Within Arthur Guy Empey’s story, at one point, he tells a short story of a man he named Albert Lloyd for the sake of his story. Lloyd was drafted for the war and soon found himself sent to Paris and assigned to the D Company on the front lines. His first assignment was guard duty in the trench’s traverses.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

According to the author, when a new recruit is on guard duty, he isn’t required to stand with his head “over the top” of the of the trench. They know it can be too much for someone with little to no past trench warfare experience. He only has to “sit out” while the more experienced men stand up and keep watch. “Over the top” meant exposure to the enemy and significant risk to yourself.

For Empey, this phrase represents leaving the peaceful comfort zone of America, crossing the dangerous submarine-infested Atlantic Ocean to Great Britain, and then joining the British Army to fight. The phrase “over the top” is best known, however, as meaning to order or encourage troops to climb out of their trenches to cross No Man’s Land under enemy fire and to jump into the enemy’s trenches with rifles, bayonets, and hand grenades.

Keep on the lookout for more updates on the Press’s upcoming title Arthur Guy Empey’s Over the Top, newly edited by David Scott Stieghan to be released April 6th as the first book in our WWI Doughboy Series!