Tommy's War: A First World War Diary 1913-1918 by Thomas Cairns Livingstone
The extraordinary diaries of Thomas Cairns Livingstone represent twenty years of gorgeously idiosyncratic daily records of a middle-class Glasgow household, over a period spanning shortly before the Great War to the early 1930s. Thomas Cairns Livingstone, a mercantile book keeper, began his diaries in 1913, when he, his wife Agnes and their son 'wee Tommy' set up house in the Glasgow neighbourhood of Govanhill. For the next twenty years, Livingstone dutifully recorded each day's events in his Collins diaries, from small domestic dramas to troop movements as news of the Great War filtered back to the anxious home front. Rescued during a house clearance, the intricate details of these journals -- interspersed throughout with Livingstone's wonderfully warm and idiosyncratic illustrations -- provide a priceless record of the impression world events were making on the ordinary people at home and an extraordinary chronicle of the ups and downs of working-class life in the period immediately before, during and after the First World War. The details of the family's early life, notes about the (usually dreich) Glasgow weather, and comments on the carnage on the front and on the high seas, are written and illustrated with such warmth and charm that the story of this very ordinary household in the early part of the 20th century becomes completely addictive.