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Journey's End: The Classic War Play Explored [Kindle Edition]

Robert Gore-Langton
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

R C Sherriff’s Journey’s End is a syllabus text and the most famous play about World War One. First staged in 1928, this book tells the story of what went into the making of this extraordinary and powerful trench drama. It outlines Sherriff’s career from humble insurance clerk to infantry officer and his unforgettable 10 months on the western front before he was invalided home, lucky to be alive.

Sherriff poured into his first professional play his personal experience of living in a front-line dug-out. Using his diary and letters home, the book charts his emotional life under fire and relates it directly to the play, its events and its characters. It also tells the story of Journey’s End’s incredible box office success across the world, a triumph which made its shy young author famous overnight.

Taking in the history of the show right up to the most recent productions, Journey’s End: The Classic War Play Explored is a meditation on Journey’s End’s achievement as a war document, its fascination for audiences when it was first staged and its continuing grip on theatregoers and students today.

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The research is comprehensive and detailed, to the extent that this publication might appeal as much to those interested in the Great War as Sherriff's depiction of it. For theatre lovers, the story of how an unknown playwright managed first to get an initial production and then transform one of several plays in an almost identical genre that appeared practically at the same time into the most popular straight play of its era will fascinate --British Theatre Guide

About the Author

Robert Gore-Langton has been a journalist for 30 years. He is a former editor of Plays and Players magazine; he has worked as critic for The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Express; and freelanced for a wide range of publications.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 443 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Oberon Books (20 Jun. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DI86ESS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #352,170 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant book on THE classic WW1 play 21 July 2013
A short way in to this gripping book, Robert Gore-Langton makes the telling observation that WWI has come to be seen by posterity as a "poet's war", not a "playwright's war". By the end of this very moving true story of RC Sheriff's war and the smash-hit play he wrote about it, I was left with the fervent hope that the balance will now be redressed a little in favour of the playwrights. Owen, Sassoon etc are household names and Sheriff is much less well known, yet I felt emotionally closer to the pathos of the trenches reading this book than anything else - poem, film, documentary or history - that i have previously encountered. Gore-Langton's great talent is in conjuring the mood of a nation that eventually realises it must discard the stiff upper lip if it is to embrace the catharsis that Journey's End offers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original take - in an original type of book 25 Oct. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This brings a well-trodden set text to life in a way I've known no other book to do - partly because being a journalist Gore-Langton pursues his various explorations with a nose for the overlooked detail, an ear for the stiff upper lip, short sentences that whip the story along, and a crisp, fresh turn of phrase on a possibly word-worn subject. Of the final all-out German offensive of 1918: 'over a million shells were fired in five hours over a 60 mile front. The British troops curled up into a collective foetal ball and endured it'. The book combines fresh research, sympathetic digging into Sherriff's life and a theatre critic's knowledge of production history together into a riveting one-session read that's a completely original mix of mud, blood - and greasepaint.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful, beautifully evocative book 20 July 2013
This is far more than just a book about the making of a famous play. It is a brilliant, luminously detailed and unflinching account of life in the trenches during the First World War. Beautifully written, wise, compassionate, and at times savagely funny. A must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely and revelatory study of a classic play 18 Nov. 2013
The great strength of this excellent book is its multi-faceted approach, coming at this play from the perspectives of the culture that produced it (literary and theatrical), the political and social climate that surrounded it and, of course, the war itself. The result is an especially rich weave of material, enlivened by Robert Gore-Langton's energy as a writer, that makes this that comparatively rare thing - a book that educates and entertains. I finished it wishing it would have gone on longer. I wanted to know more about the Artist's Rifles or Maurice Browne (with his brilliant notion that programmes should be printed on Japanese paper so they didn't rustle), but also to read more of Sherriff's own war diary entries. I recommend this strongly to anyone studying or teaching this play, and to anyone with an interest in how an artist responds to the unbelievable suffering around him.
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