Silent Landscape

The Battlefields of the Western Front One Hundred Years On

James Kerr, Simon Doughty

Publication date:
May 2016
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
170 colour photos, maps
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781911096030

Dimensions : 245 X 318 mm
This book is temporarily out of stock.


• "James Kerr's photographs superbly evoke the haunted landscape of the Western Front. Simon Doughty's supporting text strikes just the right note. A terrific book.” - Sebastian Faulks

This is an illustrated book about the landscape of the Western Front where the First World War was fought, relentlessly, for over four years across a narrow ribbon of ground stretching some 440 miles from the North Sea to the Swiss border. All the destructive power then known to man was used here, with success and failure measured in yards rather than human cost. The character of the landscape was soon lost once the battles started in earnest, stripped bare of vegetation and topsoil, churned beyond recognition, with irrigation systems destroyed, woods and forests erased, high explosive shells and other man-made remnants of war littering the ground, and the remains of many thousands of soldiers laying on the battlefields. Towns and villages were rebuilt, concealing all trace of war for the next generation. But in the countryside there remained indelible scars. This landscape has gradually recovered thanks mostly to nature and re-generation, while that other enduring legacy of the war, the cemeteries, memorials, preserved trenches and battlefields, carefully tended as gardens and parkland, now provide an ordered sense of humanity. These places have become part of the landscape as if they had always been there, as indeed they now always will. The authors have explored the length of the Western Front, not just those places that resonate in Britain, but to less familiar stretches of the front-line where both allies and enemies faced each other, in low swamps, rolling hills, and rocky mountainsides. It has been something of a journey, since there were many fierce battles in places that are rarely if ever mentioned in British accounts of the war. Equally revealing is that most of these hidden parts of the Western Front are all well within a day's drive of the Channel ports. This book captures some of the haunting and evocative images of the Western Front landscape as it is now, using present-day photography. It focuses on the physical sweep of a place irrevocably changed by events that took place 100 years' ago.


Silent Landscapes is a fitting tribute to the men and women who fought on the Western Front, while simultaneously offering the battlefield visitor a visually stunning accompaniment.

Happily, I can take a decent picture, but I still seek inspiration and every so often something comes along to blow my socks off. This wonderful book by Simon Doughty and James Kerr is just such a moment.
War History Online

" Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys seeing images of the battlefields and those who wish to improve their own photographs.”
WW1 Revisited

We need these books to keep the memories alive of those who fought and died in a war that achieved so little other than wasted lives.
Books Monthly

This is not so much a tribute but a monument to those who fought and died.
Gun Mart

This is a very high-quality production, well up to Helion's standards and worth a place on the bookshelf. You can also pay considerably more for such a book.
Society of Friends of the National Army Museum