WARS AND WORDS
THE LIBRARY OF GEORGE CLARKE MUSGRAVE



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REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS & VOICES FROM THE MEDIA:

Book of the Day

Informed that "The Silent Trauma of War" has again been selected by @IndieBookButler as their book of the day


Review of "The Cuban Crisis" 4 Star

The Cuban Crisis from George Clarke Musgrave, a war correspondent and journalist, provides a compelling focus on the historic events, the victims, the oppressors and the key characters in those tumultuous times. Sent to Cuba to report on the developing conflict, he starts off as Spain's sympathiser but turns into an advocate for the Cuban cause towards the end. His chronicle contains raw and emotional details about the atrocities the Cubans had to suffer for their ideals, building to the short but vicious Spanish-American war and the ultimate defeat of the Spanish at Santiago. The author shows great empathy in a time of relentless oppression and mass extermination.


Review of "Insights of a War Correspondent" 5 Star

It wasn't until I was in my early twenties that I realized that the history books I've read were highly redacted and heavily biased. I know now that history is written by the victors and paints them in the best light. These private accounts are a more honest approach. The whole section dedicated to bullets is my favorite part.


Review of "The Boxer Rebellion" 4 Star

I'm an art historian, so I appreciate historical accounts and other types of primary sources. They give me a portrait of what a time period and are integral to research. I recommend this ebook for those interested in Chinese history. This ebook also contains photos, which add to the documentary appeal of the work


Review of "An Ashanti Uprising" 5 Star

A very interesting glimpse into a ruthless Ghanaian past. Savagery and tyranny in equal measures. Well, written and well researched.


Comment from Self Publishers' ShowCase

SPS: We are pleased to confirm that your book "The Cuban Crisis" has been added into our Books of the Month listing for March.

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Launch of 'Insights of a War Correspondent' - Interview with Indie Book Butler

IBB: We understand that you have recently published two new titles in the Wars and Words series

AM: Actually, there's one new book, 'Insights of a War Correspondent' and I've also republished 'The Silent Trauma of War,' which was completed less than a year ago. The new book has arisen from the realisation that George was never able to fully come to terms with the inability of our politicians and our best generals to make clear, correct and courageous decisions; or with the ignorance and incompetence of officials at every level; or the foul stain of corruption that sucks the very lifeblood from the fighting man. Finding out why - and how George lived with this - has been the driving force behind 'Insights.' Coincidentally, my research for this book also uncovered a whole raft of new information about George's commission in 1900 to report on the Boxer Rebellion in Peking and this is what triggered the republication of 'The Silent Trauma of War.'

IBB: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in researching and writing these books?

AM: I am continually, and pleasantly, surprised by the amount of material written by and about my great-uncle George that keeps turning up - and by how different records often overlap, explain, contradict or reinforce each other. When George was in Peking in 1900, for instance, various press reports of the day claimed that he had been captured by the Boxers and was being held with George Morrison of the London Times and Sir Claude MacDonald. His own somewhat sketchy diary notes, though, show that he was, in fact, in hiding with two fellow journalists and that the three of them had shared a pledge not to write about the horrors that they had witnessed. So, he was lost and silent by choice, not by capture or imprisonment.

IBB: How many books have you now written, and how many more do you have planned?

AM: There are now nine books in the Wars and Words series and, while I don't have any immediate plans for more, I'm not at all sure that my writing is finished. My research is continually revealing more details, more facts and more answers but I still have a lot of questions and a lot of gaps to fill. I think that this is probably going to go on for some time yet - so, who knows?

IBB: Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer?

AM: Believe in your work, believe in yourself, ignore the self-doubt and keep going. And for my particular genre of non-fiction, military history and biography, I'm convinced that the quality of writing is totally dependant on research, more research - and then more research.

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Interview with Indie Book Butler

IBB: Tell us a little about yourself and your work.

AM: Following nine years service in the RAF, I qualified as a teacher and spent several years as a freelance teacher/trainer before setting up an internet service business. We sold this business in 2004 at which time me and my wife semi-retired, bought a property in Bulgaria and travelled around Europe, coming back to the UK in 2010. A year or so before we returned, my granddaughter had taken up an interest in genealogy and had constructed a family tree, revealing my great-uncle, George Clarke Musgrave. I worked with her on this and with relatively straightforward first stage research, we discovered that George Clarke was a war correspondent and journalist, seeing action with both British and American forces in West Africa, Cuba, South Africa, China, the Balkans and France. His articles from these conflicts were published in many national and international journals including: the Illustrated London News, the London Chronicle, the Daily Mail, Strand Magazine, Black and White Review and the New York Times. He also wrote a number of books which were readily published and well received by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Unfortunately, these are now out of print and first editions are rare and expensive. I believe, though, that his words should be read and, in seeking to bring his library back to life, I have written authentic new versions of his six books with a particular focus on preserving the action, the excitement, the drama and the emotion of his original narrative.

IBB: You've got one sentence to sell us on your work. Tempt us.

AM: Share with me the raw brutality, the traumas and the evils of war and my undying admiration for the men and women who have lived and loved, suffered and triumphed in its fighting.

IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?

AM: My work hovers somewhere between biography, adventure, genealogy and military history and I did experience some difficulties in maintaining an appropriate focus in my writing. I think, however, that by sticking to a first person narrative throughout the series, I have managed to maintain consistency and, I hope, readability.

IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?

AM: Copies of George Clarke Musgrave's books that are available have been covered as separate works by various publishers in a range of scanned and reprinted formats but these often disappoint in terms of quality and consistency. In bringing my great-uncle's library back to life, what I am trying to achieve is a unified platform where all of his books, diaries and essays are available to as wide an audience as possible. This platform includes the books, two websites that I have built and a continuing stream of information on social media.

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Interview with Self Publishers' ShowCase

SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?

AM: I write pretty much every day ‐ sometimes a chapter or two, sometimes just a few notes. I like to work from home, where I have a little niche in our living room with my computer, a storage unit for my books and notes ‐ and a very supportive wife who keeps me well supplied with tea !!

SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment you decided that you wanted to publish your work?

AM: Over the last ten years or so I have spent lot of time on research and it is only relatively recently that I completed the first books in the "Wars and Words" series. This was in 2017 and that's when I started my journey on the publishing path.

SPS: Why do you think it is that you have found yourself writing in the style that you do?

AM: When I started putting pen to paper, I experienced some difficulties in maintaining an appropriate focus in my writing. I think, though, that by deciding to keep to a first person narrative throughout the series, I have managed to maintain consistency and, I hope, readability.

SPS: What would you say, if anything, best differentiates you from other authors?

AM: My work hovers somewhere between biography, adventure, genealogy and military history. I am constantly striving to blend all of this with the factual accuracy and style of a dedicated war correspondent and journalist writing in the field.

SPS: Where does the inspiration for your work come from?

AM: I never knew my great-uncle, George Clarke Musgrave but for more than a decade now I have lived with him, walked with him and dreamed with him. He died in 1932 and the task of recounting his life and times has slipped several branches down the family tree to me and now it is with some trepidation, but a keen desire to keep true to his memory, that I have dedicated myself to channelling his stories and bringing his library back to life.

SPS: What's next on the self-publishing horizon for yourself?

AM: In addition to his books, George Clarke Musgrave produced a wide-ranging portfolio of articles, reports, letters and essays on many subjects. He also kept diaries with records of his day-to-day experiences. Unfortunately, many of these have been lost, damaged or destroyed and there is no longer a complete collection available. From those that do remain, though, I am editing and compiling his notes into dated records that will form the content of further books in the "Wars and Words" series. This is a work in progress.

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Interview with Indie Book Butler at the relaunch of Wars and Words

IBB: We understand that you are republishing Wars and Words, the title book in your series covering the works of George Clarke Musgrave .. can you let us know a bit more about him?

AM: My great-uncle George was born in Folkestone on May 1st 1874. Following service in the British Army, brought to a premature end by injury and subsequent medical discharge, he became a war correspondent and journalist, seeing action with both British and American forces in West Africa, Cuba, South Africa, China, the Balkans and France. His articles from these conflicts were published in many national and international journals including: the Illustrated London News, the London Chronicle, the Daily Mail, Strand Magazine, Black and White Review and the New York Times. He also wrote a number of books which were readily published and well received by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. His career spanned some twenty five years during which he grew from a young but determined writer to a seasoned, brilliantly analytical and highly respected observer of war.

IBB: Tell us about Wars and Words, and what particular aspects of George's life are covered in this book?

AM: Each of the books that George wrote was a war correspondent's account of a particular theatre of conflict to which he was sent by commission from one or more newspapers or magazines. Each of these conflicts was different in purpose, duration and outcome, and each of his books is correspondingly unique. In writing Wars and Words I have set George's books chronologically within the timeframe of his career and woven together the diverse and tangled threads of his life story over the same period. George wrote in the first person and I have chosen to follow his narrative style so the book reads as a biography

IBB: What is the significance of the title?

AM: George wrote about the five wars that he experienced. He also penned the often untold stories of those left behind to suffer the iniquities and atrocities of wars that others fought. He held an undying admiration for the men and women who lived and loved, suffered and triumphed in their fighting. So, for me, his wars are inextricably linked with his words.

IBB: Can you share with us something about the book that isn't in the blurb?

AM: George was commissioned by the New York Times to cover the Boxer Rebellion in August 1900. When he returned to New Jersey just a few weeks later, he was a changed man. The horrors that he had experienced during his time in Peking had affected him deeply. He had lost interest in everything that had previously motivated him. He was not writing and, within a month, he left for England because, in his own words, he had to "get rid of his demons." I believe that if this had happened today he would have been diagnosed with PTSD .. and it took him a full year to recover.

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