A while ago now I bought "Birdsong" by Sebastian Faulkes and added it to my pile of books to read. I picked it up and started to read the introduction written by the author but struggled and so put it back.
Other books were read and Birdsong made it's way to the top of the pile again. So, giving it another chance, I started it again but skipped the introduction. I'm glad I did.
Like most people, I think, I know a bit about the First World War. I know it was a hard, attritional war fought in awful conditions that almost wiped out a generation of men. This book follows one soldier from his life before the war until the war ends.
At times the descriptions of warfare and how the men suffered are horrific. The detail is superb (I've just finished itching!) and the storyline compelling. Once I started I found it difficult to put down.
It is very much a human story. I felt sympathy for not just the main character but those who helped fill out the story. The annoying characters are just that but are there for a reason and not just for the sake of it.
This book has gone into my "keep" pile and will be read again.