An obscure, interesting story of the Irish at war is "The 1st Royal Irish Rifles in the Great War." Based on recently released files from the British Public Record Office, author James Taylor looks at the Irish soldiers (from the north and south) who arrived at the front on November 1914, and battled fiercely in Neuve, Chapelle, Fromelles and Somme. They suffered terrible casualties, but also took part in the famous informal Christmas truce. Taylor offers invaluable insight into these men's lives with biographical information on almost 300 Irish officers. "Unit histories can be dry reading," Martin Middlebrook writes in his Foreword. "This one is not." Indeed, James Taylor offers a valuable new look at the Irish experience during World War I. ($29.95 / 363 pages / Four Courts Press-International Specialized Book Services)