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Death of a Hero [Kindle Edition]

Richard Aldington
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Death of a Hero", published in 1929 was the author’s literary response to the war. He went on to publish several works of fiction. In 1942, having moved to the United States, he began to write biographies. This last work was very controversial, as it was highly critical of the man still regarded as a war hero.

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Product Description

About the Author

Richard Aldington, born Edward Godfree Aldington in 1892, was an English writer and poet. Best known for his World War I poetry, the 1929 novel Death of a Hero, and the controversy arising from his 1955 Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Inquiry. His 1946 biography Wellington, was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1003 KB
  • Print Length: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Dundurn (15 May 1998)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GZ1DV6I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #342,581 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly brilliant book. 1 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
One of the most powerful, moving books I have ever read. The book tells the story of George Winterbourne, and his experiences in the battlefields of World War I. The gradual but irreversible state of George's mental state is a remarkable tale, as the book is used as a vehicle for harsh criticism of the ignorance, incompetence and lack of consideration of front line troops among the British elite at the time.
George's death at the end is the final statement of rejection - he would rather die amongst people he has only spent a relatively short time with, than return to his former life and live with what he has seen. I would recommend this to anyone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vitriolic, but Powerful 27 Oct. 2008
Surely this is a book about the Victorian Age and W.W.I that won't be forgotten. There's too much in it. I should say that it's about how the Victorian Age ended: with a bang, not a whimper. The story of Aldington's Hero (which is in part an autobiographical narrative) tells you how Victorian culture and mentality did not prepare young middle-class Brits to cope with the changes that are symbolized by the Great War. The protagonist of the novel, a young wannabe writer, makes a mess of his private life and then joins the Army for the wrong reason. Only the last part of the book (about 1/3 of Aldington's novel) deals with the war; the rest of it talks about why young British officers were so badly prepared to it, both psychologically and culturally; and why it was such a devastating collective shock. The book also includes venomous portraits of such modernist writers as T.S. Eliot and F.M. Ford, plus lenghty discussions of the Victorian approach to sexuality (including some moderately funny scenes). All in all, a little masterpiece of early 20th-century British fiction that deserves more attention...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Now that the current trend in popular academic history is for neo-whiggish exploration of such topics as racism, feminism, and the irresistible rise of everyman, I sometimes feel that fiction offers a more humane impression of the 'wie es eigentlich war' - at least to those who prefer a humanist style of historical writing. Such fiction sometimes concentrates the general experience of a period through the lens of a single gifted witness who serves to present the reader with a brilliant spectrum of ideas. So it is with 'The Death of a Hero', Richard Aldington's mordant analysis of the generation that came of age in time to live through the First World War.

For all that, it cannot be denied that'The Death of a Hero' is a bit of a mess aesthetically: this doesn't appear to have troubled its author who described it in the introduction as a 'jazz novel'and 'not the work of a professional novelist.' For Aldington, 'the excuse for a novel is that one can do any d... thing one pleases' without being governed by 'method' or 'convention'.

The book is based closely on Aldington's own childhood, boyhood and youth, but was written about 10 years after the last of the events which it describes. The author is therefore in a position to write about his younger, semi-fictional self through the person of an older narrator, who appears to know far more than even the most intrusive of narrators could possibly have discovered about his subject, but whose presence allows Aldington to deliver himself of an incisive commentary and a set secular sermons which his characters are too narrowly drawn to present convincingly for themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An English "All Quiet on the Western Front" 20 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Published a few months after the Erich Maria Remarque's 'All Quiet on the Western Front' came out in 1929, this book appears to pay homage to the German book, referring a couple of times to its title. (Aldington writes at one stage: "There was, of course, nothing to report on the Western front.") The two books share many ideas - young men sent out to be corrupted and to die by their own callous leadership, fighting other young men whom they admired rather than hated, becoming more alienated from the women in their lives and knowing that their lives were ruined, even if they survived. And both are also funny, despite it all. 'Death of a Hero' starts with George's death, shot down in the last few days of the war in 1918. His mother is shown 'grieving' - requiring her young lover to take her to bed to sooth her sadness. I had never heard of an anti-female feeling which developed in World War I among some soldiers - but it is a big theme of this book (and a minor theme of 'All Quiet'). George starts off as an artist who can be rather irritating at times - but he does become a hero (of the modest, uncomplaining, decent kind) in the trenches. Like Paul in 'All Quiet', George sinks down into exhaustion and disillusionment. For instance: "He had wanted to go on living, because he had always unconsciously believed that life was good. Now something within him was beginning to give way...". The two books, even though they treat of mass killing, wounding and death, are full of life and will make many modern readers want to live their lives as best they can, partly in recognition of young soldiers like these.
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