Released on 24 jul 2014

Announcing the publication of Full of Hope and Fear, by Margaret Bonfiglioli and James Munson

A collection of private family letters from the First World War that lay forgotten for almost ninety years.

The First World War has survived as part of our national memory in a way no previous war has ever done. This collection of letters - which lay untouched for almost ninety years - allows a unique glimpse into the war as experienced by one family at the time, transporting us back to an era which is now slipping tantalizingly out of living memory.

The Slater family lived in Oxford. Gilbert, the father of the family, had been head of Ruskin College in Oxford, and during the war found work as the first Professor of Indian Economics in Madras. His wife, Violet, grew to detest the war and became an increasingly vocal pacifist as the slaughter continued. Their eldest son Owen was a schoolboy in 1914 but was fighting in France by war's end.

In the letters they wrote to each other and their friends at this time we see how the war increasingly impacted upon each of their lives and the life of the world around them - rationing, Violet's increasing involvement in radical politics, the deaths of friends, the fear of Zeppelin raids when in London, the endless discussions between Violet and Gilbert about how to keep their son out of the trenches - and the growth of Owen from schoolboy to soldier, serving as a junior officer on the Western Front.

Above all, in their privacy and immediacy, their inconsistencies and false hopes, these letters bring us as near as we can ever be to understanding what people thought, feared, and hoped for during these momentous years.

Margaret Bonfiglioli is the daughter of Owen Slater, one of the central correspondents in this book. In 2001 her Mortedecai ABC was published, a reader combining literary biography, letters, and short works by her late husband, the thriller write Kyril Bonfiglioli.

James Munson was Literary Editor of the Contemporary Review from 1994 to 2012. He has taught history at Oxford University, and for many years wrote historical documentaries for the BBC. He has also written for many newspapers and magazines.

24 July 2014 | Hardback | £25.00 | 978-0-19-870717-2

Publicity Manager: Kirsty Doole | 01865 355439 | kirsty.doole@oup.com