British army chaplains have not fared well in the mythology of the First World War. Like its commanders they have often been characterized as embodiments of ineptitude and hypocrisy. Yet, just as historians have reassessed the motives and performance of British generals, this collection offers fresh insights into the war record of British chaplains. Drawing on the expertise of a dozen academic researchers, the collection offers an unprecedented analysis of the subject that embraces military, political, religious and imperial history. The volume also benefits from the professional insights of chaplains themselves, several of its contributors being serving or former members of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department. Providing the fullest and most objective study yet published, it demonstrates that much of the post-war hostility towards chaplains was driven by political, social or even denominational agendas and that their critics often overlooked the positive contribution that chaplains made to the day-to-day struggles of soldiers trying to cope with the appalling realities of industrial warfare and its aftermath. As the most complete study of the subject to date, this collection marks a major advance in the historiography of the British army, of the British churches and of British society during the First World War, and will appeal to researchers in a broad range of academic disciplines.
'The Clergy in Khaki is an excellent resource, and I very much hope that its authors will publish further research on this fascinating and much misunderstood subject.' Church Times 'The book is worthwhile and very well researched ...' The Pastoral Review 'Anticipating celebrations of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, this timely volume provides an excellent read, blending perceptive analysis with vibrant narrative. The editors' introduction provides a masterly overview of developing scholarship, which serves to rehabilitate the performance of these ministers in khaki.' Baptist Quarterly '...naturally evens out perspectives, introducing the issue of army chaplaincy and the chapters of the book in a model opening essay by the editors. And its range is wide...' Modern Believing ’This stimulating collection usefully broadens and extends knowledge and understanding of the clergy in the Great War.’ History