Tommy’s War: a First World War diary, 1913-18
by Thomas Cairns Livingstone, 2008
The re-discovered diaries of an ordinary man living in Glasgow during WWI. The book covers the period 1913-18. Thomas Livingstone is witty, intelligent and loves his wife and son very much. He often illustrates his diary with funny little drawings.
I’ve been reading this book, a few entries at a time, over the last few years. Thomas is most engaging when he talks about his family – their, holidays, aches and pains or recent purchases. However – except for some really good incite into entertainments and social practices at the time – we don’t learn a very great deal about how the war affected ordinary people.
Thomas was not conscripted because: reasons. He read the papers and kept up to date with losses on all sides but he never really offers any opinion or commentary on events, other than rising costs. Add to that the almost entire lack of humour displayed by the editor and you’re left with a fairly interesting yet ultimately unsatisfying read.