Our War: How the British Commonwealth Fought the Second World War, by Christopher Somerville. Distributed in the United States by Trafalgar Square, North Pomfret, Vermont. 800-423-4525. $50, hardcover.

Christopher Somerville’s book Our War offers readers a unique gift: firsthand accounts of war from actual veterans of World War Two, showing how they rose to the front lines, struggled against the Axis forces, and what they ultimately took away from the war. Their harrowing and amazing accounts recreate a time when the course of history hung precariously in the balance.

The book opens almost frozen in time, beginning with the line, “On 30 January 1933 Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.” That simple statement serves as the introduction to the book’s main characters: the British veterans who tell of their actions and lifestyles on the day Hitler rose to power. Each veteran provides a description of chaotic life on the front lines. Their amazing tales include one soldier’s story of his interrogation by the Gestapo; another describes how he adapted to life in the jungle as part of his survival tactics; yet others talk of their difficulties reintegrating into society upon their return home.

These accounts come together to create history from a different perspective–the personal experiences of those who fought on the ground.

Christopher Hamme