In this commendable local history project the authors have set out to create a detailed record of the impact of World War One on the lives of the inhabitants of the small mining village of Sherburn, County Durham and its surrounding area during the years 1914-18.
It is a fascinating snapshot of life during those difficult years, for the men of the district who answered the clarion call and joined up, only to be plunged headlong into the nightmare of the trenches of the Somme, and for those who remained in England, keeping the home fires burning in the face of poverty and adversity.
Those who can trace family roots back to this area may well find useful information, as the names and deeds of a large number of local inhabitants of the time are mentioned. There is also a full roll of honour of all the Sherburn menfolk who died in the war or as a direct consequence of it.
But as a social document it has a great deal more to offer than simply a list of names, it paints a detailed picture of what life was like for the ordinary residents of the UK at that time of poverty, dismal working conditions, social and economic inequality and political unrest.
Though Sherburn, as a mining community, had its own particular local issues, the lives of its inhabitants were not, by and large, greatly different from those of working people all over the UK at the time, giving this local history a wider value as record of the life and times of ordinary British folk during the years of upheaval brought about by the Great War.