This is the fascinating and moving story of how the grave of the Unknown Soldier and the ritual of Remembrance Day came to be.
During the Great War, three men -- one British, one American and one German -- give their lives in the battlefields of Flanders. Neil Hanson traces each soldier from recruitment, in the naive, optimistic belief that the war would be over in a matter of weeks, to the appalling reality of trench warfare with the stench of death permeating from mass graves bubbling up from beneath the battlefields, and finally, to the waiting, worrying and grieving of their families at home when the dreaded telegram "missing, believed dead" arrives.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier examines what happened to the soldiers whose bodies were unrecoverable, and the valiant effort of Reverend David Railton, a priest serving at the frontline with the London Regiment, who convinced Prime Minister Lloyd George to create a symbolic burial of one unknown soldier so that all who had lost brothers, sons and fathers could grieve at the grave in the hope that the unknown soldier was their beloved.
Hanson's book culminates on a modern Remembrance Day and the ritual of commemoration.