In June 1916 Philip Brocklesby, a young second lieutenant just arrived in Boulogne, slipped away from his regiment in a desperate attempt to see his brother who had been imprisoned nearby. But it wasn't the enemy who were holding Bert, but his own army. Bert, along with 34 other conscientious objectors, had been court marshalled for refusing to fight, and was waiting to hear if he would be sentenced to death. The meeting was happy and affectionate, but then both brothers knew it may be their last. Through the amazing story of the Brocklesby family, Will Ellsworth-Jones explores the history of conscientious objection in World War I, charting the experiences of the men who took a stand despite being stigmatised, vilified and facing death. This amazing book also considers the men's lasting legacy. Without the courage of men such as Bert who were prepared to die for their beliefs, we wouldn't have the freedom to voice our beliefs and protest at our government's involvement in conflict.
At the end of this touching book, the reader will ask themselves whether they would have had the courage to fight in the trenches, but more importantly whether they would have had the courage not to fight. Packed with unpublished letters, diaries, memoir extracts and oral interviews, We Will Not Fight is a fascinating look at conscientious objection in WWI, and its legacy. 'It is by now a rare experience to read a book on that war which seems wholly fresh and original, but this is such a book. A significant and fascinating contribution to our understanding of the period, and one which deserves to be widely read.' Publishing News