Letters home from theatres of war have the power of the greatest literature, even when written by squaddies with only rudimentary education. In extreme situations, with the chaos of battle imminent and the fear of death ever-present, soldiers, sailors and airmen think of home and the people they love.
They eagerly wait for post and parcels, press their lips to the kisses at the end of wives’ and girlfriends’ letters, dream of home cooking, count the days until leave. Tragically, many do not make that longed-for return, as yet another mother’s son is left on the battlefield. So it was at Agincourt and so it is today in Afghanistan. The letters collected by the Imperial War Museum are a testimony to  ordinary courage and extraordinary love. This book presents a moving (and historically valuable) selection of letters home, from the First World War to the present day. Its editor, the historian Andrew Roberts, points out: ‘The fact that all too often the writers… did not survive gives [the letters] a profundity…and somehow the very fact that they are not overwritten or self-consciously “literary” merely adds to their haunting power’.
Bel Mooney, The Daily Mail