Cover 9781849544498

The Times’ Defence Editor’s Military Book of the Year 2012

On 12 May 2009 Lieutenant Mark Evison of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards died after being shot in the shoulder while leading a patrol in Helmand Province. Mark was hailed a hero and one of the best of his generation of young officers, now his grave is one of the many in identical ordered rows in a military cemetery. In Death of a Soldier, Mark’s mother Margaret writes about her experience, from the moment she heard that Mark was injured, his death and the terrible sense of loss that followed, to finally arriving at some understanding and acceptance of his death. She tells us about Mark and includes his diary from Afghanistan, with its powerful account of the platoon’s time there. She describes her growing awareness of the sacrifices we expect of our young soldiers and their families, and also the attitude of the establishment.


Margaret Evison’s love, grief and dignified rage shine from the book but they do not detract from the presentation of facts. Or from the notable absence of some key facts. And Mark’s inquest was not an assault on the military. In fact, it was the inquest’s surprisingly banal conclusions that drove Mrs Evison to write the book.

Dermot Rooney, BAR

Margaret Evison writes affectingly and elegantly about the swirl of emotions and memories she felt as she saw her son go off to war and first received the news that he had been shot, as well as the limbo of uncertainty and anxiety that followed, and the human drama in Selly Oak Hospital as the family had to let go and Mark’s life-support machines were switched off... The fact that Margaret Evison could write this very accessible account, and that she was also able to find a way to visit Afghanistan to see for herself the country in which her son died, marks her out as a rare individual.

Nick Childs, Rusi Journal

A truly gripping– and exceptionally well-written – story of incredible bravery, tragedy, bungling, dishonesty, and magnanimity...

Royal College of General Practitioners

Margaret Evison’s is a book that everyone should read...

Australian Times

There is a range to this book that is alone distinguishing. Margaret Evison, the mother, delivers the intimate close up of the devastating loss of her son. Evison the clinical psychologist also manages to stand back and offer a more professional perspective on the struggle with grief and reconciliation. As well, a gifted writer intervenes to make sense of a story as remote and imposing as the Hindu Kush.

Chris Masters, Australia DLR

a rare and private glimpse into the pain and anger that more than 430 families of British servicemen and women who have died in Afghanistan will have experienced.

The Times

The book is beautifully conveyed and balanced - at times it read with the pace and grip of a thriller...

Elizabeth Day, Novelist and feature writer for The Observer

One of the remarkable aspects of this short but hard-hitting book is that Margaret Evison has created such a vivid portrait of her son Mark…the reader feels privileged to have known him.

Simon Griffith, Mail on Sunday

[A] deeply moving, thought-provoking and important work...

The Melton Times
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  • Hardback, 300 pages
  • ISBN: 9781849544498
  • 1 November 2012
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