A GROUP PHOTOGRAPH - Before, Now & In-Between
A GROUP PHOTOGRAPH - Before, Now & In-Between

'I Shall Not Be Away Long'


A new book for 2020 is based on the letters of Charles Bartlett from the Group Photograph, described by Michael Morpurgo as 'Moving, Powerful, Important' and with a Foreword from William Boyd saying:


'This is not only a beautiful-looking book, generously and wonderfully illustrated, it is also a remarkable human document, as rich in detail and commentary on the human condition as a long novel. Tens of thousands of books have been written about the First World War and who would have thought that, over a hundred years since it ended, there was anything more to say. But ‘I Shall Not Be Away Long’ fully earns its place in the Pantheon of literature about the Great War. We come away from it amused, moved, informed, baffled, shocked, saddened and, with a bit of luck, wiser. It is a classic of its kind.'


Further details plus reviews, radio interviews, sample pages and a video flicking through the book are below but if you already know you want it:

Lt Col Charles Bartlett was a larger-than-life and slightly roguish infantry officer who served on the Western Front from August 1915 to March 1917. Not only are his letters almost completely uncensored and full of incident described with directness and bluff humour, but the people he mentions along the way give a full spectrum of supporting characters, from his actress wife and their friends on the West End stage, to soldiers noted for their heroism or eccentricity or insubordination or complicated love lives (or combinations of all of these), to men avoiding conscription, to spies, royalty and a newspaper magnate. The letters give a portrait of a man, a marriage, and a time of traumatic uncertainty. Charles Bartlett is not an exemplary hero, but his flaws make him all the more human as he struggles through leading his Battalion at the Battles of Loos and the Somme and the frights and labours of life on the Western Front.


I have presented the letters so that you see the originals and have a chance of feeling you’ve just opened them yourself. Insights and atmosphere come through pictures and details of the events, objects, people and places that Charles Bartlett encounters along the way, and behind it all has been the aim of giving voice to the variety of war experiences as well as showing how families dealt with their losses and what the survivors did with the rest of their lives.


This book is designed to be read alongside my first book ‘A Group Photograph – Before, Now & In-Between’. As well as having many characters in common, both books explore the same ideas of what it is like to be a human being in any time, how our beliefs and hopes compare to reality, and what remains of us after we are gone.


Compelling reading’ ‘Absolutely intriguing’ ‘Of human interest that we can all relate to as all our lives are more complex and nuanced than they might seem at first glance’

Helen Tovey, Editor of Family Tree magazine


‘The book is beautifully illustrated and the depth of research is most impressive’

Professor Ian Beckett, author of ‘The Great War’


‘The achievement of it, the depth, breadth, humanity, suspense (what on earth was Charles going to be up to next?), the 300-strong cast, the meticulousness, brilliant structure and design... It is a more than worthy sequel to ‘A Group Photograph’ and the two fit beautifully, seamlessly, together’

Patrick Miles, author of

‘George Calderon - Edwardian Genius’


You can get an idea of the content for yourself from:


464 pages, printed on quality paper in full-colour with a fully-sewn binding, 21 x 26.2 x 2.6 cm, ISBN 978-0-9935302-2-7 (9780993530227), published by Arvo Veritas.



‘If there’s one book you read about the Great War during this time of remembrance, I heartily recommend this one.’ – Britain at War magazine

‘Tatham does the roller-coaster ride of Bartlett’s life proper justice in an impeccably produced book.’
History of War magazine

5 STARS - 'It will make excellent reading for scholars of the conflict' - Soldier magazine


BOOK OF THE WEEK - 'Andrew Tatham has produced a remarkable human document' - Country Life magazine

Radio interviews


BBC Radio 4:


The Today Programme, 14th November 2020

(6 minutes)


RNIB Connect Radio:


The Daily Connect programme, 11th November 2020

(12 minutes)


BFBS Radio:


Hatch and Geere Breakfast, 10th November 2020

(11 minutes)

Buying 'I Shall Not Be Away Long’

I'm incredibly proud of 'I Shall Not Be Away Long'. I really don't think there's another book quite like it. It is a large high quality book of 464 pages, designed to transport you in time and to be kept as a reference.


Such a book is expensive to produce, particularly when independently publishing, and I am only able to offer it at a decent price by selling it myself through my website (for the economics of this see this document). 


It has over twice the number of pages of 'A Group Photograph' but at £29.50 inc P&P is only one and half times the price.

As of 6th November 2020, the book is now available to buy.


For the latest news, please see my blog.


Pick your postal location to find full price inc postage. 


(Note that Air Mail outside of Europe is expensive, so I have included a Surface Mail option, though instead of up to 7 days it will take from up to 42 days to USA to up to 84 days to Australia):


Postal Locations


If you don't want to use PayPal:

  • you can pay by cheque by printing off and posting me this form
  • or you can order via Amazon (though because of their fees it's slightly more expensive)


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