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Her Privates We Paperback – 11 Nov 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; New Ed edition (11 Nov. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852427175
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852427177
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 266,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The finest and noblest book of men in war that I have ever read. I read it over once each year to remember how things really were so that I will never lie to myself nor to anyone else about them (Ernest Hemingway ?I am sure it is the book of books so far as the British Army is concerned? Lawrence of Arabia)

This unique and extraordinary novel, the finest novel, in my opinion, to have come out of the First World War (William Boyd (from his Introduction))

Book Description

A new edition of a classic First World War novel, a brilliant and bitter picture of human conflict. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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THE darkness was increasing rapidly, as the whole sky had clouded, and threatened thunder. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 64 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 April 2001
Format: Paperback
I first read this book when it was published as 'Middles Parts of Fortune', one of the few unexpurgated versions to appear with Manning named as author.
This novel fictionalises Manning's own war experiences. Although highly literate, he served throughout as a private. The book thus offers us a very rare insight into the Great War through the eyes of one of the otherwise silent but multitudinous 'other ranks'. Other contemporary accounts of the war were written by junior officers, but their experiences would have necessarily been very different from those of their men. Indeed, part of Manning's gift is that he offers us a view of these officers as seen by those who served under them.
What makes Manning's book so very memorable is that he deals with companionship rather than battles. The book starts with the protagonists coming back down the line from battle, and ends with them going back over the top. In between, he recreates the comradeship experienced by a group of men who were having to survive in a surreal world where the reason for their being there was beyond their comprehension.
In my view, this is the best book to have come out of the Great War. Now it's back in print, there is no excuse for anyone not to read it!
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 April 2002
Format: Paperback
Well. I wanted to know what it was like in the trenches that my grandfathers, as ordinary rank and file, fought. And so, this is it. Boredom, comradeship, bad language, and occasional harsh brutality. If you want to know what they experienced, then I'm pretty sure this is the book. Indeed, I can truly say that whilst reading this I felt physically sick at times, because it was so graphic and well told.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Dec. 1999
Format: Paperback
Probably the best novel to come out of WWI, Manning includes some well thought out analysis of the effects of a battle situation on men and on groups of men.
Besides his asides on the inevitiblity but also the futiltiy of war; we are treated to a very touching story of companionship under times of great stress. Much of the action takes place behind the lines in the bars and restaurants of the Somme region. Bourne, knows he is different and better educated etc. and is comfortable with officer and soldier class alike. He is soon pressured into going for a comission and although not overly keen, he sees that it is inevitable. He decides to go over the top one more time before being sent back for officer training.
A thoroughly good read, I can honestly reccomend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
... each war is unhappy (by contrast) in its own way. With apologies for roughly paraphrasing, and utilizing Tolstoy's first sentence in Anna Karenina (Penguin Classics).

Frederic Manning was an Australian who saw action on the Western Front, with the British Army, during World War I. He enlisted, and served as a private, in the trenches, along the Somme sector. He missed the day of ultimate devastation for the British Army, July 1, 1916; on that date approximately 20,000 British soldiers were killed, 35,000 were wounded. Manning spent four months in this sector, in the autumn of 1916. This novel is heavily based upon his experience; to use an expression from a later war, it is a "grunts-eye" view of war, one of the unhappier ones in terms of utter carnage. Manning probably had some "personal problems" prior to the war; as is so often the case, they were only exacerbated by the war, and he heavily relied on the "medicine" that is alcohol to "help him get through the night." The "catharsis" of writing this book was not sufficient. He died at age 52.

Manning loved his Shakespeare. Each chapter commences with an epigraph from The Bard. The title is a quote from Hamlet (Classics Illustrated), from a dialog, I had long forgotten, between Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. It refers to the ultimate arbitrator in war: Fortune, which Hamlet calls a strumpet. And in her private parts is where R & G dwell, as well as soldiers in the Somme sector.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. L. Murphy on 11 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
I have only read this book in it's censored version, and it is still one of the best books written about the the Great War. It is moving and uncompromising and gives a fascinating insight into life as a private in the trenches. Now it is back in print, definitely buy it. Up until recently it has been very difficult to get hold of. While you're at it, buy 'All Quiet on The Western Front' as an interesting view from the other side.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. R. Orves on 6 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
I came across Her Privates We by Frederic Manning when I was doing some research in my family tree. The reviews I read were that it gave a realistic view of a soldiers life in WWI. The main character was in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry which was the same regiment as my Great Uncle who died in the war. The book lived up to its good reviews, the best praise I can give is that once I had finished it I started to re-read it almost immediately. As one of the previous reviews states, the reader is shown how mundane life was. It shows how relationships developed between soldiers develop from very different backgrounds. The most startling bit was finding out after I had read it, that the first chapter describes the action in which my Great Uncle died... very sobering, making me look at the book in an entirely different way. I thoroughly recommend it.
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