Cover of Cowards with an image of a white feather on a black background.


“…it has clear relevance to the debate raging amongst Britain’s young people about the nature of war…a fascinating and accessible piece of social and military history.”
The Guardian

“Sedgwick allows events their true depth and immediacy by refusing to moralise from hindsight.”
The Daily Telegraph

Product Description

A sealed train speeds through the night around the outskirts of wartime London. As it passes through a dimly-lit station without stopping, a hastily-written note is thrown out on to the platform. What is happening to the men on board? Why do they have to resort to such a desperate method of contacting their loved ones?

This is the story of Howard Marten and Alfred Evans, two young men who refused to join the army in the First World War. They suffered abuse, imprisonment and physical punishment, because they believed it was wrong to kill. Sent to the front line in France, they were told to obey military command, or face the firing squad.

Still they refused, until finally, the death sentence was passed against them…

A compelling true story of conscientious objectors in World War I.

First published in 2003, now reissued and only available here.

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