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The Great Push
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eBook Only, Military, History & Adventure
Publication Date
09 March 2006
eBook only
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited

The Great Push

by Patrick MacGill - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

In 1915 Patrick MacGill, the 'navvy poet' whose autobiographical novel about his life as a potato harvester and roadworker in Scotland, Children of the Dead End, had been a publishing sensation the year before, enlisted as a private in the London Irish Rifles. He was sent to the front line in France, where between raids and in the ghastly conditions of the muddy trenches, he wrote The Great Push, a description of his experiences during the Battle of the Loos in September 1915. Towards the end of the offensive he was wounded in the hand and wrote the last two chapters of the book from a hospital bed in Loos.

Anyone who has read Children of the Dead End will recognise the vivid immediacy of MacGill's writing - just as he related his life among navvies and farm labourers, so he is able to portray the horror and carnage of life in the trenches, while at the same time honouring the camaraderie of his fellow foot soldiers and damning the powers which created the conflict.

Patrick MacGill, known as ‘the Navvy Poet’ was born in Donegal in 1889. During the First World War he served with the London Irish Rifles and was wounded at Loos in 1915. His novel The Great Push was written as result of his wartime experiences. He emigrated to America with his wife and daughters in 1930 and died in Florida in 1963.     

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