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Empires of the Dead
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About the Author

David Crane's first book, 'Lord Byron's Jackal' was published to great acclaim in 1998, and his second, 'The Kindness of Sisters' published in 2002, is a groundbreaking work of romantic biography. In 2005 the highly acclaimed 'Scott of the Antarctic' was published, followed by 'Men of War', a collection of 19th Century naval biographies, in 2009. Crane lives in north-west Scotland.

Reviews

'Of the avalanche of books to commemorate the centennial of the opening of the Great War, 'Empires of the Dead' is the most original, best written and most challenging so far. It strikes at the heart of the current debate about what we are commemorating, celebrating or deploring in the flood of ceremony, debate and literary rows about the meaning of the First World War today. Crane succeeds in doing so by looking at the achievement of Fabian Ware, who to this day is almost an unknown in the pantheon of heroes or villains associated with the conflict' Evening Standard

'Outstanding ... Crane shows how extraordinary a physical, logistical and administrative feat it was to bury or commemorate more than half a million dead in individual graves. And he reveals that this Herculean task was accomplished largely due to the efforts of one man: Fabian Ware' Independent on Sunday

'Vivid and compelling ... David Crane writes exuberant, joyful prose. He is acutely aware of the ambiguities and nuances surrounding the issues of war and death; and that makes this a fine and troubling book, as well as a riveting read' Literary Review

'A superb study. The story of the foundation and achievements of the War Graves Commission has been told before, but never so well or so perceptively. Crane brings out the complexities of Ware's character ... his brilliance as a diplomat ... and the paradoxes in his achievement' Spectator

'The most original, shortest and best written of the year's tsunami of books on the impact of the Great War' Evening Standard, Books of the Year

'Excellent' Sunday Times

'Intensely moving' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'A beautifully written, enormously touching account of Ware's attempt to create what Kipling called, 'a work greater than the Pharoahs'' Daily Mail

'In retrieving [Ware] from history, Crane has performed an important work of remembrance' New Statesman

'A beautifully researched and written book, an intellectually honest work of history' Guardian

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