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Death of a Hero Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Length: 330 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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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: 994 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
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #314,966 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on 1 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Paperback
Richard Aldington, friend of luminaries such as Ezra Pound, DH Lawrence and TS Eliot, but not quite of their stature, was an irascible writer of numerous novels, biographies, classic translations, and poetry. They are seldom read now and none appear to be in print, although `Death of a Hero' is to be reprinted by Penguin in 2013. It is generally regarded as his finest work, and a great war novel, although the book concerns other important issues. It is actually difficult to classify it as a novel. In his own words: "The excuse for a novel is that one can do any dammed thing one pleases, without being governed by method or convention."

It is story of the life of George Winterbourne, as told by an army friend after George is killed in WWI, but is interlaced with the trenchant personal views of the narrator, who is of course the voice of Aldington himself. The book is divided into three parts, formally labeled Part 1, 2 and 3, and of roughly equal length. But before these is a Prologue, where the narrator tells how he came to meet George and later to write the memoir of him, and the reaction to his death of people who knew him. The hard-hitting, critical style is a foretaste of the style of the rest of the book.

Part 1 describes the life of George's parents, and George's own life as a young man in a series of small English towns, again semi-autobiographical. The withering language leaves the reader in no doubt of Aldington's contempt for middle-class Victorian English society, which he regards as materialist, philistine, sanctimonious and cruel. Every few pages there is a forthright view expressed in a powerful sentence that made me stop reading and spend some time thinking.
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