Book Review – The Name Beneath the Stone by Robert Newcome

Book Review – The Name Beneath the Stone by Robert Newcome

I’m still not quite ready to go with video reviews, but I hope that being typed won’t detract from my big emotional response to this excellent book.

Some of you will know that I have a background in military history (yes, I have a very… colourful, mixed, odd… background!) so this book title and blurb really caught my eye and it proved to be a beautifully written and thoughtfully researched novel. I had assumed it would be a non-fiction book but it is in fact a novel with a carefully crafted, complex weaving of a fictional family history and fact.

The main theme is whether or not it would be right for the identity of the Unknown Warrior to be revealed? I’ve had many conversations with veterans and academics on this topic while reading the book – and the universal answer was ‘no, never’ – it is an emotive subject and a fascinating one. The idea of the Unknown Warrior was such a unifying and respectful way to remember the trauma of the First World War and it was done so reverently and with such care that it has become a huge part of British life.

This sensitively written book looks at quite a range of ideas and feelings about revealing who the soldier was and it allows for healthy discussion about so many elements of war, memory keeping, death, grief, national versus personal, military versus family and so on that I could write a whole essay… but I won’t, I’ll just encourage you to read this book.

If you find this topic interesting I would also recommend another fictional, but excellent and movingly ‘real’ story The Blue Bench By Paul Marriner which also looks at the impact of the War and the creation of the Cenotaph and Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

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2 Replies to “Book Review – The Name Beneath the Stone by Robert Newcome”

  1. Hi Claire, excited to see this – as we move into the centenary of the interment of the Unknown Warrior next year it’ll be great to see people finding out more through books. Best wishes, Paul

  2. Thanks so much for this review. You may be interested to know that I tracked down David Railton’s grandson – also called David Railton, and he’s fully on board with the theme of the book!

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