I am an independent researcher and writer affiliated to The University of Derby, UK. I was awarded a PhD in 2016 for my thesis: 'Sense and Sentimentality: The Soldier-Horse Relationship in the Great War'.
If you are the sort of horse person who notices when Poldark’s horse keeps changing colour, or that the horse Merlin set off on several hours ago (usually at a gallop) is miraculously still also trotting about in Camelot, then you’ll enjoy Tim Pears’ The Horseman. It proceeds at a steady pace, with lots of wonderfully wrought horse-centric details. The story is set in the early twentieth century and centres around a boy called Leo and his love of the horses around him. I say it is steady, but perhaps evocative and stately would be more appropriate. But don’t be fooled, there is drama too. ((I won’t spoil it.) Published by Bloomsbury.
Bit of a change today, as I am currently writing a review of Diana Ahmad’s Success Depends on the Animals for H-Net. I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Diana’s book about emigrants and their animals on the overland trails in America from 1840 to 1869. What has perhaps fascinated me most are the strong parallels that can be drawn between the emigrants and their livestock and my own research into the soldier-horse relationship during The Great War. Diana describes how emigrants often knew very little about oxen, horses, or mules before undertaking their epic journey, but soon came to trust and respect the animals with whom they shared the dangers and privations of the overland trails. Like many soldiers of the First World War, they also realised the importance of always putting their animals’ needs first; often risking their own lives to save them from danger.
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Hello! Just to let you all know how The Horse and the War is getting on. Well, as you can probably guess by the title, it’s finished! It took some time, but I am really pleased with it. Looking at the photographs you’ll probably wonder what all the fuss is about. It doesn’t look that different from before? Well, maybe that is the sign of a job well done. I’d say The Horse and the War is now fit for another hundred years of reading! Well chuffed!
The repaired spine. Just a little of the new cover fabric can be seen.
Repairs to pages and new sewing inside.
The cover repaired and touched up without obviously altering the book’s original appearance.
Casing in. This proved quite difficult – hence the wrinkles!!!
Just a quick update on Laura was my Camel. Mission accomplished! Although not perfect, going it alone has really tested how much I have learned. A few head scratching moments and a lot of looking at other books for reference later and we have a book again. Or should I say ‘still’! Casing the book in (putting it back into its cover) proved very tricky. Largely because all the repairs had made the spine bulkier than it had originally been. So, annoyingly, I’ve ended up with some wrinkles in the end papers. Not to worry though – we’ll know for next time. Onwards and outwards…
I started this project last week, and it’s the first book I have worked on unsupervised. Matt has given me a few pointers, but this time the work is my own entirely. Of course, I haven’t chosen a first edition of Bleak House for this momentous step, but the rather lovely (but obscure?) Laura was my Camel – price £2.50!!!
Here are the signatures (book sections) with all the old glue and spine lining carefully removed. However, the original binding wasn’t great and has left big holes that will need to be repaired prior to taping and sewing. Not doing this will just mean there is nothing solid to sew through!
Japan paper and wheat paste repair to fold. I’m going to have to do this with most, if not all, of the pages. This could make the book more bulky, so a rethink might be needed about how to repair the cover to accommodate it…
Today is a big day in the progress of Flynn post-PhD, a.k.a. ‘the wilderness months’. Today I have received a book for me to review for H-Animal, and I have to confess that I am really looking forward to reading it. Diana Ahmed’s Success Depends on the Animals: Emigrants, Livestock, and Wild Animals on the Overland Trails, 1840-1869. More to follow…
It looks like a may have a publisher. Good news! But now the work begins! Again! 🙂 Although I am looking forward to taking out all the ‘gubbins’ that made it into a PhD thesis and getting back to telling a story about the soldier-horse relationship. Exciting times! By ‘it’ I of course mean ‘the mighty tome’ that totally took over the last five years of my life. (The PhDers out there will know what I mean.) Nose to the wheel, shoulder to the grindstone, onwards and outwards etc. etc. …
Had another go at The Horse and the War last week, and progress had definitely been made. Not quite ready to ‘case it in’ as we wanted the glue to dry before going any further. (By ‘we’ I mean Matt Edwards and me under his tuition.) Nevertheless, it’s already looking much better than it did. All the pages have been repaired and sewn back together using a sewing frame, the end pages have also been sewn in, and the spine repaired. The spine repairs have been done on the inside of the cover, so as to avoid altering the book’s outward appearance. Really pleased so far! Just about summing up the courage to have a go on my own. Maybe not on anything precious though aye?! TTFN.
After what seems to have been an unreasonably long time spent tinkering with forms, the latest book submission for Sense and Sentimentality is off to the publishers. Now to wait and see…
Meanwhile, I’ve been working on another book repair. This time Captain Sidney Galtrey’s The Horse and the War. Published in 1918, when materials were in short supply, it isn’t the most robustly constructed book ever. It does, however, have some lovely (and very interesting) Lionel Edwards illustrations in it amongst other things. Again, some work is being put into getting it back into shape.
This time, I don’t altogether blame my ‘PhDing’, so much as the numerous trips to China and back The Horse and the War has been forced to withstand over the last four and a half years. I am fairly certain Captain Galtrey would never have anticipated that his book would rack up quite that many air miles!!!
P.S. Yes, the post-its were me. Sorry!!!! (Now safely removed.)