World War 1914 - 1918 A Pictured History Part 28

iiiwifwiiwiu iiiii The Editor Chats With His Readers John Carpenter House, London, E.C.4. CHIS week I am again like Lord Reckage, a character in John Oliver Hobbes’ novel, “Robert Orange,’’ who remarked, after having discussed a variety of topics:“ A nd now let us turn to bindings.” M y readers now possess 28 Parts of World War ,the number that makes up our first volume. O f a few subscribers, however, this may not be true they may have omitted to purchase one or two of them, or one or more may have been lost or inadvertently destroyed. For such cases the publishers reserve a stock of back numbers and these can easily be obtained, so that everyone who reads Part 28 during the next day or two can have in his home the previous 27 Parts, all ready to be sent to the binder. R O apology is needed for referring again to the importance of binding these loose Parts of WORLD War ,or, indeed, of any other Part publication, into book form. M y readers are certainly moreno careless than the rest of humanity, but the multifarious interests of modern life fight remorselessly and continuously on the side of procrastination wherever pro­crastination is possible. There is, for nearly all of us, always something to do, and so we postpone those duties which, so we think, can be done as well tomorrow, or even the day after, as today. Thus, to return to the question under discussion, it comes about in so many cases that, instead of ordering the binding case as soon as it is available, many persons put off this simple task until some of the Parts are spoiled or lost. QUITE as much as any of the many works that have appeared under my editorship. World War is deserving of a place on the bookshelf. It is not a magazine, abut record, and by the almost unanimous verdict of my readers an authoritative and readable record of the tremendous world struggle that occupied the years 1914-18, and as such a work to which frequent reference must be made in the years to come. One point in its favour I would like to stress :it can never get out of date. Indeed, it is quite true to say that its value will increase as the years goon, and as the memory of the struggle becomes fainter, the need to turn to the written record will bccome correspondingly greater. The worst that can happen to WORLD War is that, like all other historical writings, even the greatest, one or two of its judgements maybe found some­what wide of the mark in the light of experience to be gained only in the years to come. m Y correspondence makes it fairly clear that, whatever others may do, the ex-servicemen who form avery large and keenly critical proportion of my readers will preserve their Parts of World War in one form or another. They buy them week by week because they want to read and possess a reliable record of the struggle in which they took part, and they realize that, with its magnificent illustrations giving point to a readable and varied narrative, it is the best available for their purpose. Among them, at least, I do not fear any failure to preserve the Parts I am only concerned that they should preserve them in the most economical way, which is by taking advantage of the publishers’ binding offer. 7 ¥sour illustration, “Printers in Uniform ,”in page 644, r f l suggests, one of the minor activities behind the lines*“ of the armies in France was the printing of orders and other matter for the troops in the Infield. September, 1914, a department was setup at Havre, which, by using an address­ing plant, made possible the distribution of army orders, amendments to regulations and manuals, green envelopes, leave forms, etc. At the same time the Royal Engineers had a printing company at .HG .Q .,but this was notable to print more than a few pages or a few hundred copies so the work was sent to England. This, however, caused delay and was undesirable for other reasons so the Army Postal and Stationery Services established a printing press at Havre in July, 1915. Another was setup at Boulogne in January, 1916, and later a section, with the necessary plant, was allotted toG .H .Q .and each army headquarters.%%\ hf.N this was established nearly the whole of the printing for the army in France was done atone or other of these centres, the work including line block, half­tone and colour printing, as well as letterpress, and by the time of the Armistice there was a battery of eight linotypes in France. The work executed varied from the “order of battle," many pages of secret tabular matter, and forging German pigeon message forms for the intelligence department to such items as Christmas cards for the divisional units and programmes for the divisional horse shows. Another de­partment dealt with photo-Drinting, and in the ten months of 1918 no fewer than 2,5v>0,000 photographs were handled by it. I theN preface to Volume V of the “Official History of the War •Naval Operations,” an interesting comparison is made between the task of compiling that work and that of Gibbon in writing his “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Sir Henry Newbolt, who succeeded Sir Julian Corbett as editor, says that Gibbon and Corbett each took six years to produce their first two volumes. The authorities read by Gibbon were the work of fourteen classical writers, and amounted to 10,500 pages of print. O then other hand, for the Dardanelles campaign, which occupied only a third of his two volumes, Sir Julian had to deal with 23 folio volumes of naval documents, containing 19,600 typed pages. This means that whereas the one had to study the considered and well-ordered work of his predecessors at a moderate and even leisurely rate, the other, the modern historian, had to“ analyse, compare and digest amass of raw material perhaps five times greater, while at the same time constructing the historical perspective of an inundation, and not, as in the older case, of a river inflowing the familiar, well-mapped channel of time.” This is perfectly true but Sir Henry makes no mention of the fact that Gibbon’s authorities were in Greek and Latin, and though he was an excellent classical scholar, the task of reading these ancient languages obviously took much more time than that of reading documents in English, or even in French and German. Part 2 9 o f WORLD WAR on Sale Everywhere, Thursday, May 32
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