The New Zealand experience on the Western Front began in 1916 and lasted over two years. It was socially shaping, a tragedy of epic proportions that drew in nearly half of all the young men of fighting age in New Zealand. And it provokes questions. Why did so many New Zealanders sail from the ‘uttermost ends of the Earth’ to die by numbers in muddy foreign soil? And were the tactics really as mindless as climbing out of a trench and walking very slowly towards the Germans until everyone was dead?
Matthew Wright provides some answers in this no-holds-barred account of New Zealand’s three-year hell on earth in Flanders and Picardy. Drawing on soldiers’ diaries and letters, some published here for the first time, Wright paints the vivid, harrowing picture of a life-and-death struggle shared, over the span of the war, by more than 100,000 young Kiwi soldiers.