The 1915 assault on Gallipoli, Turkey was the first of the mass slaughters to imprint itself on this century's consciousness. Grim Bury, home to a regiment that lost nearly 2000 lives at Gallipoli, was that year a settlement of 50,000 chiefly in service to cotton and entirely in thrall to its paternalist landlord. Moorhouse combines a traditional and vivid account of the fighting with narrative social and local history as he assesses the World War I battle's impact on several generations of this community in northern England. Moorhouse ponders the connection between civic culture and commitment, concluding that Bury's early, painful valor was tempered by later discretion. Despite betraying an occasional affinity for imperial pomp, the author, a Bury native and respected travel writer, has drawn on contemporary newspapers and interviews to create a perceptive analysis. This may not find a ready audience in the United States, however, since its focus is not Gallipoli, but an obscure English town. Recommended for libraries with strong World War I or British social history collections.-- Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Pa.
Another splendid historical study by Moorhouse (On the Other Side, 1991; Imperial City, 1988, etc.), who here details the effects of the disastrous 1915 Gallipoli campaign on Bury, Lancashire, an English mill town that was the headquarters of a regiment heavily involved in the fighting. The author, grandson of one of the participants, was born and raised in Burya fact that adds emotional resonance and verisimilitude to his narrative. Writing with his usual sensitivity and smoothness, Moorhouse, in a series of heartbreaking and frequently infuriating vignettes, reports on the events of the botched and bloody Anatolian landing and the subsequent carnage. As impressive as his WW I passages are, though, it is when Moorhouse focuses on postwar developments that he reveals the unique vision that has distinguished his earlier books. In recounting the tragic legacy of the war, he assembles a vast array of dramatis personaepensioners, priests, and profiteers; unfaithful wives, workers, and wastrels; suicides and swindlersand tells their stories in powerful images and vibrant detail. And Moorhouse handles the larger issues with equal perceptiveness. He discusses, for example, the admiration English enlisted men felt for the vitality and openness of the Anzac (Australian and New Zealand) troops during the campaign, and counters this by noting the scorn with which the colonials viewed the "Tommies," whom they considered weak both in physique and spirit. A short but strong chapter describes the life and times of Edward George Villiers Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, a holdover from the Edwardian era who virtually owned the town. This Colonel Blimp- like figure's platitudes andpretensions are captured with a fine straight-faced irony. An unusual and engrossing take on a fairly familiar bit of British history, rendered with freshness and literary polish.