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The Path of Peace: Walking the Western Front Way

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I didn’t really appreciate the comparisons he made initially with Patrick Leigh Fermor, and I was quite upset with him near the end when he gave away the ending of Erich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front”. To support the “Western Front Way”-initiative the author in the late summer of 2021 set out to walk the whole length “from the Vosges to the sea” . Very moving and I do hope this dream becomes a reality as a lasting monument for unnecessary deaths.

The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. This is excellently interwoven with information about WW1 and the formation and hopes for The Western Front Way itself. While I was familiar with the extent of the battles in which the British took part, Ypres, the Somme, Passchendaele, I did not know the full, terrible, extent of the French battle of Verdun, and found the chapter on this very moving. This isn’t to say the story is primarily about Anthony Seldon; he provides an extraordinary account of the war and the lives of the soldiers who lost theirs in the battles.Someone younger, for whom one would imagine the walk is destined, might not have yet read one of the world’s greatest novels and now he’s spoiled the end for them.

Memories of the Civil War were still vivid; this, not the 1917-18 war, was to Americans, their own ‘Great War’.It was also notable that several times Seldon tells us how few people visited the various monuments and sites he came across - it does suggest that it is perhaps too late for this to be a project that will ever capture the imagination of massed pilgrims. After that, he wrote, he hoped to “send every man and child in Western Europe on pilgrimage along that Via Sacra, so that they might think and learn what war means from the silent witnesses on either side”. Interesting detail is also added by the description of the soldiers’ equipment which at least at the beginning of the hostilities was to a large extent woefully inadequate (as the author's throughout the walk seemd to be to an expienced walker).

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