Fitting tributes to a devastating legacy

Book expert Melanie Mitchell.

Book expert Melanie Mitchell.

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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli.

Conceived by Winston Churchill as the First Lord of the Admiralty, the intention was to secure the Dardanelles straits from the Ottoman Empire as a sea route to the Russian Empire, one of the Allied powers.

Unfortunately, the campaign was not a success and the Allies eventually withdrew in January 1916.

It was a military disaster that caused one of the most significant losses of life during the First World War.

Earlier this year Ports-mouth Historic Dockyard launched a new exhibition called Gallipoli: Myth and Memory, at the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Open between 10am and 5pm until January 31, 2016, entrance is free with a valid ticket. It may inspire you to read my Books to Watch, which also serve as a tribute to this devastating legacy.

n Book of the Week is Early One Morning by Virginia Baily (published Virago, July 23) is rooted in occupied Rome during the Second World War.

It explores a decision made by a young woman, Chiara Ravello, to claim a young boy as her nephew in order to secure his safety.

The consequences of this impulsive action reverberate for decades to come, long after the boy, Daniele, has disappeared from her life.

Jumping from past to future and from Italy to Wales this is a book that demands attention but rewards with a poignant story of love and sacrifice. You’ll be asking your-
self whether doing the ‘right’ thing is always the right thing and what you might have done in Chiara’s shoes.

n Books to Watch include Back to Gallipoli.

I have chosen a reprinted edition of a book considered to be the definitive account of the battle – Gallipoli by Alan Moorehead (Aurum Press, April 2).

Originally published in 1956 it won the inaugural Duff Cooper Prize for non-fiction.

Or you could try Glory by Rachel Billington (Orion, April 9), a kind of eulogy to her grandfather who died at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on August 21, 1915.

Grounded in fact but brought to life with fiction, this is a heartrending story of the men and women whose lives were torn apart.


n Mel Mitchell is originally from Portsmouth and now lives in Gosport.

She is Publisher Liaison for newbooks magazine and its related website nudge-book.com, based in Stubbington.

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