If ever a book could be described as a true labour of love, then it’s this one. The story centres on the war work of the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB) that was founded in London in late 1914. Author Jeff Miller gives a superbly detailed overview of how the multinational organization help supply food to the civilian population of northern Europe which had become trapped behind German lines in the Great War. It was, in fact, the largest food relief operation the world had ever seen and kept nearly 10 million Belgians and French people fed and clothed every day for four year.
This remarkable tome covers the August 1914 to May 1917 timespan and follows on from the earlier book Behind the Lines by the same author. The background, politics and how the logistics worked are all explained, and vivid descriptions of the many people involved are also given. The epilogue covers what happened to the key players mentioned in the story after the bulk of the organization had to leave mainland Europe in May 1917. (Many of the staff involved were American, and had to stop work in occupied Europe when the USA joined the war.)
Highly detailed, a fascinating story, well illustrated and superbly written — what more could we ask for?