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Journey to a War Hardcover – Jun 1972

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Hardcover, Jun 1972

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Octagon Books (Jun 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374903158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374903152
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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About the Author

W. H. Auden was born in York in 1907 and brought up in Birmingham. His first book, Poems, was published by T. S. Eliot at Faber in 1930. He went to Spain during the civil war, to Iceland (with Louis MacNeice) and later travelled to China. In 1939 he and Christopher Isherwood left for America, where Auden spent the next fifteen years lecturing, reviewing, writing poetry and opera librettos, and editing anthologies. He became an American citizen in 1946, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1948. In 1956 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and a year later went to live in Kirchstetten in Austria, after spending several summers on Ischia. He died in Vienna in 1973. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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By jarrod kimber on 2 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great thanks
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Amazon.com: 1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Two Literary Greats in China, 1938 16 Aug 2010
By Kevin Kaczmar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the record of a train journey from Hong Kong to Shanghai, made by Isherwood and Auden between February and June, 1938. The writers had been commissioned by their publisher to write a travel book about the East, the choice of itinerary left to their own discretion. With the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, the pair decided to go to China. As Isherwood says in the foreword: "We spoke no Chinese, and possessed no special knowledge of Far Eastern affairs." Acknowledging that he cannot vouch for the accuracy of many of the things told him by the Chinese, Isherwood continues: "We can only record, for the benefit of the reader who has never been to China, some impression of what he would be likely to see, and of what kind of stories he would be likely to hear."

In this collaborative effort, Isherwood wrote the text and Auden contributed a substantial body of verse. There is also a very good selection of photos, mostly of people, both notable (Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Chou En-lai) and obscure (soldiers, peasants).

Throughout their journey, Auden and Isherwood were treated as dignitaries, shown every deference by the locals and granted numerous audiences with both Chinese and European officials. They seem to always be sitting down to tea with somebody! Except for the occasional Japanese air raid, the travelers never get all that close to the war. The front is always somewhere out there on the periphery. I didn't find the book particulary illuminating about the nature of the Sino-Japanese War. There are a few mentions of the atrocities committed by the Japanese Army, but not much detail. That criticism notwithstanding, JOURNEY TO A WAR is a very interesting book for armchair travelers, and Auden and Isherwood are pleasant and amusing traveling companions.
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