Battlefields of The Western Front 1914-18

"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

“A beautifully-crafted book with a large number of stunning photographs by James Kerr and thoughtful complimentary text by Simon Doughty, 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. The aerial images are fascinating, and the winter shots particularly striking.  The book is highly recommended.”
Richard van Emden

Read Paul Reed of WW1 Centenary book reviews

Silent Landscape, Battlefields of the Western Front 100 years on is a lavishly illustrated coffee table book of contemporary photographs of the landscape of the Great War battlefields today.
Published by
Helion and Company Ltd in May 2016
Written by Simon Doughty and photography by James Kerr

Stacks Image 286
There are many books about the human experience and tactics of The Great War, but this one is different: it is an illustrated book about the landscape upon which the war was fought, relentlessly, over a narrow ribbon stretching across Northern Europe. All the explosive and destructive power known to man was used here, with success or failure being measured in yards rather than human cost. Time and again, battles were fought over the same ground until finally the old front lines collapsed after nearly four years, heralding a return to ‘open’ fighting, a short period when the heavy hand of warfare hovered just a little more lightly across a much broader landscape.

The war took a terrible human toll, its most enduring legacy. But the landscape suffered as well, and while it has mostly recovered, the scars that remain are a reminder of how it was affected. Towns and villages have mostly been rebuilt, farming has returned, forests and woods re-grown. But the indelible evidence remains and on a scale that is almost unprecedented in the history of warfare. The scars are there, now softened and melding with the old landscape and Nature itself. Alongside these battle scars is the more civilised and formal legacy of the war: cemeteries, memorials, stretches of preserved trenches and no man’s land, and carefully tended parkland. These are now a part of the landscape, almost as if they had always been there, as indeed they always will.

Like many victims of war, the landscape is innocent, it is harmless, it protects, is reliable and productive, it is the ‘good earth’. Thankfully it recovers and regenerates, with or without the help of man. 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 wider context, the physical sweep of a landscape irrevocably changed by events that took place 100 years ago. - Simon Doughty.

ISBN-13: 978-1911096030
Stacks Image 1634
Simon Doughty was commissioned into The Life Guards in 1976 and retired from the Army in 2009. He is a graduate of War Studies at Kings College, London, is a member of the British Commission for Military History, the Society of Army Historical Research, and the Army Records Society. As a battlefield guide, he has worked for Holts Battlefield & History Tours and occasionally takes friends on visits to First and Second World War battlefields. He is the Editor of The Guards Magazine and the author of 'The Guards Came Through; The Guards Regiments in The Great War'.

Stacks Image 1637
James Kerr has been a commercial, garden and landscape photographer for over twenty years. The First World War has always held a great fascination and he has visited the Western Front many times with his camera. Before becoming a photographer he spent seven years in the Coldstream Guards. His work has been published in several books on the war as well as 'Shakespeare's Scenery' a coffee table book of Warwickshire with foreword by Dame Judi Dench

Simon Doughty: , James Kerr :
Please note not all images on this website will appear in the book
© James Kerr & Simon Doughty 2016