"This war is not a war. It is a world-destroying battle. All that has gone before this war in this world until now has been only boys throwing coloured powder at each other."
Jowahir alludes to images of children playing Holi as the level of violence and destruction of all of history's wars in comparison to this one. This war full of "gun[s] that shook mountains" and the destruction of whole cities was something wholly different.
A short work, the new introduction by Charles Allen gives us insight into the creation of the "letters" and the context surrounding Kipling at the time. It's fascinating to think of Kipling reading through piles of soldiers' letters and the insights they must have given. The book gives us a taste of a much bigger story - what compelled these men to serve their imperial masters? And how does it fit into the larger story of the Raj and its subjects?