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Goodbye to All That (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Robert Graves
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

In 1929 Robert Graves went to live abroad permanently, vowing 'never to make England my home again'. This is his superb account of his life up until that 'bitter leave-taking': from his childhood and desperately unhappy school days at Charterhouse, to his time serving as a young officer in the First World War that was to haunt him throughout his life.

It also contains memorable encounters with fellow writers and poets, including Siegfried Sassoon and Thomas Hardy, and covers his increasingly unhappy marriage to Nancy Nicholson. Goodbye to All That, with its vivid, harrowing descriptions of the Western Front, is a classic war document, and also has immense value as one of the most candid self-portraits of an artist ever written.

Includes illustrations and explanatory footnotes.

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Product Description

About the Author

Robert Graves was born in 1895 in Wimbledon. He went from school to the First World War, where he became a captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers and was seriously wounded at the Battle of the Somme. He wrote his autobiography, Goodbye to All That, in 1929, and it was soon established as a modern classic. He died on 7 December 1985 in Majorca, his home since 1929.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3069 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (28 Sept. 2000)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI970W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,032 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Robert Graves was born in 1895 in Wimbledon, the son of Irish writer Perceval Graves and Amalia Von Ranke. He went from school to the First World War, where he became a captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. After this, apart from a year as Professor of English Literature at Cairo University in 1926, he earned his living by writing, mostly historical novels, including: I, Claudius; Claudius the God; Count Belisarius; Wife of Mr Milton; Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth; Proceed, Sergeant Lamb; The Golden Fleece; They Hanged My Saintly Billy; and The Isles of Unwisdom. He wrote his autobiography, Goodbye to All That, in 1929, and it was soon established as a modern classic. The Times Literary Supplement acclaimed it as 'one of the most candid self portraits of a poet, warts and all, ever painted', as well as being of exceptional value as a war document. Two of his most discussed non-fiction works are The White Goddess, which presents a new view of the poetic impulse, and The Nazarine Gospel Restored (with Joshua Podro), a re-examination of primitive Christianity. He also translated Apuleius, Lucan and Suetonius for the Penguin Classics, and compiled the first modern dictionary of Greek Mythology, The Greek Myths. His translation of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (with Omar Ali-Shah) is also published in Penguin. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 1961 and made an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford, in 1971.

Robert Graves died on 7 December 1985 in Majorca, his home since 1929. On his death The Times wrote of him, 'He will be remembered for his achievements as a prose stylist, historical novelist and memorist, but above all as the great paradigm of the dedicated poet, "the greatest love poet in English since Donne".'

(Image courtesy of The William Graves Collection.)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars required reading for all 6 Sept. 2004
By A Customer
Goodbye to All That is as important to the canon of Great War literature as Schindler's List is to the Holocaust. Honest, stark and shocking at times, it is all pulled together with wonderful skill by Robert Graves who seemed to have such natural skill as a writer. My abiding memory of the book, which I have read several times, is the sheer sense of duty, so indicitative of the age, displayed by Graves and his fellow soldiers.
A briliant place to start reading about the Great War and one you will return to again and again.
It is worth reading alone for the narrative structure and the demonstration of writing craft which is of a quality not found anywhere today.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant 27 Aug. 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This really is one of the best accounts of the Great War that I've read. Given all that I've heard about this book, that wasn't so much of a surprise - as someone with a great interest in the First World War it was why I bought the book, after all. What was a surprise, however, was that well before Graves joined the army about mid-way through his autobiography I was already solidly engrossed.

Robert Graves writes with a real charm and gentle humour, belying an often quite scathing satirical leaning, and his account of his early home life and upbringing is beautiful, a real evocation of a time now lost forever. The fact that he's half-German heartbreakingly foreshadows later events, as he spends childhood holidays playing in teutonic fairytale castles with German uncles and nephews, men he is destined one day to try to kill on the battlefields of France. It's a pertinent reminder of how close Britain and Germany were in the late 1800's, a fact which made the later War all the more tragic.

The account of his time in France during the conflict, the greater part of the book, is simply brilliant - and considering what he goes through, it's hard to keep in mind that he was only in his early twenties, as I suppose so many of the soldiers were. The other reviews have covered these 'war years' in more detail and it's admittedly hard to find something new to say on a war memoir that's been reviewed and analyzed so often since it was first published, so I'll skip on to the less-discussed later chapters - suffice to say it's hard to find a better account of the life of a young officer on the Western Front.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic WWI Memoir is a Window Upon a Bygone Era 28 Jan. 2011
By A. Ross TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I generally hate memoirs, and avoid the genre as much as possible -- so when my bookgroup picked this as the next selection, I was pretty crestfallen. But I held my nose and started reading it, and lo and behold, found myself drawn in right away. I certainly knew of the book's reputation as a classic account of World War I and kind of epitaph for a generation, but had no inkling that Graves would be able to write about his childhood and school years in such a compelling manner. Granted, it's only compelling to those who have an interest in how prewar English society operated, especially in the upper classes, but as a portrait of that particular time and place, it's certainly a fine example.

The book really picks up, however, when Graves enlists in the Army and heads off to war (interestingly, he enlists to postpone his higher education). I gather that what made his account so groundbreaking was his scathing honesty and apparent lack of embellishment in recounting the horrors and idiocy he witnessed (particularly memorable is his description of a bungled early attempt at using poison gas). Although the mind still reels at the carnage, it reels even further at the prospect that teenage academics such as Graves were suddenly thrust into positions where they commanded other men in a war zone. There's a lot of very interesting detail about daily life in the trenches, meals, equipment, and so forth. But plenty of drama too -- notably an episode in which Graves is left to die (and indeed his family is notified), only to eventually recover. I would assume that pretty much any contemporary reader of the book would be well aware of the catastrophic prosecution of WWI, but Graves's book provides a direct view into what that meant on a day-to-day basis.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding WWI -period memoirs 10 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
Was Robert Graves' early life so remarkable that simply recording the facts was sufficient to create a classic? Or do his skills as a writer make the careful construction and delivery of this memoir seem effortless? Either way, the status of this work as a singularly powerful historical record is well deserved.
Graves' life, from middle class public school, to an officer in the trenches of WWI, and then an impoverished radical poet in post-war Oxford, seems like another world. Seemingly trivial details now seem bizarre, and life in the trenches under enemy fire (or gas attack) is hell on earth. Graves takes a factual, analytical, almost objective approach, recording public opinion and sentiment, and giving well-argued reasons for what now seems like military madness. This has the effect of hiding his own personal drama from the reader, so his anti-war feelings and eventual nervous collapse come as something of a surprise.
The book is not without its weaknesses. His time after the war seems to consist largely of name-dropping famous poets and encounters with Lawrence of Arabia, but seventy five years on there is limited interest in these figures, and instead we yearn for more characters such as Daisy, the daughter of a down-and-out who the Graveses temporarily adopted and gives us an insight unto life at the other end of the social spectrum, and regret that Graves did not record more of the social consequences of the radical socialism and feminism he and his wife adopted in what was still a conservative and socially claustrophobic society.
Graves toyed with turning his experiences into a novel. Ford Madox Ford did just that with the Parades End series. Some may find this allows a more considered approach of the same period, and where Graves gives us anecdote Ford leaves the reader with a deeper understanding. None of this, however, challenges the status of Goodbye to all That as an outstanding historical document of life in another age.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read. Would recommend
A good read. Would recommend.
Published 28 days ago by Jane G Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Everything as it should be.
Published 1 month ago by Teresa Montes
5.0 out of 5 stars My copy is getting worn-out, must replace it, Kindle this time...
Other, and much more significant, reviewers than I have picked over this account of Edwardian youth, war, and early adulthood in 20's Oxford. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars First book by the Author of I CLAUDIUS.
Spectacular story of Junior Officer in World War One
Published 2 months ago by Ian Mowatt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived quickly & well packaged
Published 2 months ago by Elaine Waring
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 2 months ago by Lorraine Wilkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An amazing and interesting account of a World war 1 experience surpassed only by Seigfried Sassoon's superb Sherston series.
Published 3 months ago by Jane Enright
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not my favourite WW1 poet but some of his work is very good indeed.
Published 3 months ago by StanthemanRetoma
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
enthralling first hand experience of the Great War.
Published 5 months ago by John Wildgoose
1.0 out of 5 stars infinitely inferior to the original (leave all aside Penguin's crap...
Beware, beware, beware, beware, beware etc. ad inf. This is Graves' revised reversion, infinitely inferior to the original (leave all aside Penguin's crap OCR! Read more
Published 6 months ago by E. J. Webb
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