Category Archives: Amberley Publishing

Britain’s Jews in the First World War by Paula Kitching

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On the 4th August 1914 Britain led by Prime Minister Herbert Asquith declared war on Germany after the call by the British government for Germany to get out of Belgium by midnight on 3rd August. So it was Britain went to war with the might of Germany.

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Now the call went out for young men across the country to sign up and fight for King and Country. Britain’s Jews in the First World War by historian Paula Kitching tells the story of the Jewish community and how they contributed to the First World War.

At this time Britain had a global empire and navy with many ships but what it lacked was men on the ground to fight. To take on Germany on a European battlefield would take a huge army. Britain had only a small professional army during the run up to WWI. The Jewish community despite being seen as outsiders responded with more than 40,000 men to fight after the call went out.

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With many more providing support on the home front both as nurses and doctors in hospitals and other support services the Jewish community had responded to the call.

In this well researched account it tells the story of the Jewish involvement in World War One. There is a chapter towards the back of the book that tells of the Awards and Bravery of some of the Jewish Community who served. There were 5 recipients of the Victoria Cross (VC), 144 were awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) as well as 263 recipients of the Military Cross (MC; Commissioned Officers only).

The story of Frank de Pass who on the 24th November 1914 was awarded the Victoria Cross for his conspicuous bravery in the face of a bombardment from the German line and then went about rescuing a wounded soldier. Sadly, de Pass was never to know he was going to be awarded the VC as he was killed the following day. Just one of the heroic actions by Jewish soldiers. His VC is held at the National Army Museum in London which I saw at the launch of ‘On Courage: Stories of Victoria Cross and George Cross Holders’ (Constable) in May last year.

Break of Day in the Trenches by Isaac Rosenberg

The darkness crumbles away 
It is the same old druid Time as ever, 
Only a live thing leaps my hand, 
A queer sardonic rat, 
As I pull the parapet’s poppy
To stick behind my ear. 
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew 
Your cosmopolitan sympathies, 
Now you have touched this English hand 
You will do the same to a German
Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure 
To cross the sleeping green between. 
It seems you inwardly grin as you pass 
Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes, 
Less chanced than you for life,
Bonds to the whims of murder, 
Sprawled in the bowels of the earth, 
The torn fields of France. 
What do you see in our eyes 
At the shrieking iron and flame
Hurled through still heavens? 
What quaver -what heart aghast? 
Poppies whose roots are in men’s veins 
Drop, and are ever dropping; 
But mine in my ear is safe,
Just a little white with the dust. 

I have learned so much by reading Britain’s Jews in the First World War and if military history or history in general is something that you enjoy reading then I am more than happy to recommend.

#greatjewishbooks

288 Pages.

Thank you to for the review copy of Britain’s Jews in the First World War by Paula Kitching

Britain’s Jews in the First World War by Paula Kitching was published by Amberley Publishing and was published on 15th February 2019 now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

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From the Mill to Monte Carlo: The Working Class Englishman Who Beat the Casino and Changed Gambling Forever by Anne Fletcher

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From the Mill to Monte Carlo: The Working Class Englishman Who Beat the Casino and Changed Gambling Forever – Anne Fletcher

Well this is a book that had me up for a few late nights. A true piece of detective work by the writer Anne Fletcher as she traced the incredible story of Joseph Hobson Jagger who was an engineer from Bradford who then travelled to Monte Carlo and literally broke the bank. From the Mill to Monte Carlo (Amberley Publishing) tells the remarkable story of just how Jagger managed to pull this off. What’s more The author Anne Fletcher is the great-great-great niece of Joseph Jagger.

 

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For the author it all started with a single photograph, a newspaper article and then lyrics to a famous song. There was no way Anne Fletcher was going to stop the research now. There was an incredible story to be uncovered. And this really is an incredible true story.
Joseph Jagger was a married man with four children with the youngest of his children aged only two. Life was incredibly hard. He himself came from a large family, not unusual in those times. He taught himself to read and write before working in the Mills. He then set up his own business which was maintaining the cotton looms. His business later failed with large debts and now the family was facing the worst scenario the dreaded debtor prison. Life would be incredible harsh with little chance of ever getting out.
Jagger knew of only one way to escape the debtor prison and his plan which was nothing short of crazy was to find the cash and travel to Monte Carlo by 1861 Jagger was bankrupt, but he was determined to get to Monte Carlo and this did not happen until 1880. Through the generosity of friends, he managed to get enough money together and travel 1000 miles to Monte Carlo were he hatched out a plan to get rich quick.
He cleverly realised that the roulette wheels never span true. He studied the wheels very carefully and then started gambling. By the time he had finished he had won the equivalent of seven million. This had got the owners of the casino’s questioning what he was doing and in the end the wheels were redesigned. Jagger knew it was now time to quit and return home.
So what exactly did Joseph Jagger do with all his winnings? Jagger was clearly not a man who fame, he sought a fortune to solve a problem and won. When he got home he quietly faded from the scene. He paid back everyone who had lent him money and then made sure his children never faced the same fate he did. Jagger never lived a life of a rich man, he carried on living in the same home and just lived a very quiet life. When he died in 1892 there was no wealthy will to be read out.

It seems Joseph Hobson Jagger was ashamed of what he had done and did not want the fame that went with the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo. An incredible story wonderfully told by Anne Fletcher.

304 Pages.

Thank you to Hazel Keyes for the review copy of From the Mill to Monte Carlo by Anne Fletcher

From the Mill to Monte Carlo by Anne Fletcher was published by Amberley Publishing and was published on 15th July 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

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