Crook, M. J.


Tunbridge Wells, 1st ed., 1975. 321 pp., cold., frontis., + some b&w plates. D.j., 22 x 14cm. Spine of d.j., faded o/w Nr.FINE. Interesting related cutting tipped-in. Much has been written about the acts of bravery for which the Victoria Cross has been awarded but this author was the first to have completed the gargantuan task of research into the evolution of the rules governing the award and, moreover, he has done so in a book that uses contemporary correspondence both to present the facts and to enliven these with human interest. The story is told of how and by whom the original Warrant was drawn up, the cross designed, and the first recipients selected. Of how consideration was given to the various special categories of potential recipient such as civilians, native Indians and those who had died in the performing of heroic acts, with discussion on the particular problems that arose in applying the terms of the Warrant to them, and of how the difficulties were resolved by the issuing of new Warrants. The book also traces the history of the drafting of new general Warrants. Drawing upon primary sources, the author records the discussions and the opinions expressed four generations ago, diversely different to those held today. As public opinion changes, so the regulations governing the award of the VC change, and this, in itself, throws new light upon a most interesting facet of social history. A superb and uncommon study.

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