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The World War One battlefield that bulged out around Ypres, Belgium, was one of the most horrific killing grounds of the bloody, four-year conflict. Not familiar with the proper pronunciation of Ypres, (EE-pruh), the Allied soldiers called the sector Wipers. The Allies took thousands of casualties daily there from 1914 to 1918. Unable to break the German line, a plan was made to dig 5 miles of tunnels under No Man's Land, planting charges, and blowing up the enemy from below. This vel follows a British miner-turned-soldier and his unlikely companion: a mischievous, wisecracking soldier who was a magician in civilian life and joined the army under shady circumstances. Their struggle to survive is often tragic, yet often humorous. The story climaxes with the tunnel attack and the shocking aftermath. Ultimately, it shows war is t glorious; it ruins lives, even among those who survive.
Jeff Simmons is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and College of Education. He is a former news reporter and a teacher of history, English, and mathematics. A native of Washington, West Virginia, he now resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.