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Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (FF Classics) Paperback – 3 Apr 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New edition edition (3 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571203183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571203185
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.6 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 436,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"A skillful portrayal of the intangible, of unease, of secret wounds . . . [and a] comedy of almost Checkovian sensibility." --Pierre Marcabru, "Le Figaro" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Conversations after a Burial by Yasmina Reza is a savage but richly comic play, exploring the intense pause between absence and the return to everyday existence, between loss and life. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "alexmaltby" on 29 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
The reason why I think this book is so much more affecting than modern war 'classic's' such as Sebastian Faulks' 'Bird song' and Pat Barker's 'Regeneration' is its use of subtlety. Rather than explaining with great horror and drama the awfulness of the trenches, Sassoon uses comedy, subtle hints at the experiences of 1st World war trenches, and the use of distinct detail describing minimal objects and events that are off the battle field. In my opinion this leads to the reader using their imagination about the goings on in the trenches which is far more eye opening than books that eventually begin to numb us with horror and blood. This book is refreshing and incredibly moving to read and a fantastic sequel to 'Memoirs of a fox hunting man'.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. Parry on 10 Dec. 2003
Format: Paperback
I had previously found this author by accident previously with the book "Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man" which I found a highly enjoyable. The decision to read this sequel was obvious and as I suspected it gave a highly interesting and enjoyable read. Fantastic! I would recommend this to anyone (and don't forget the first book).
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Swift on 29 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
I've read and re-read this book on and off for the past 20 years and it still never fails to move me. Sassoon offers us a window on life 90 years ago that has scarcely been matched (especially when taken in conjunction with the first book Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man). Incidentally, to find out more about the real events that inspired Sassoon to write, read "The War The Infantry Knew" by Captain J C Dunn (Sassoon's contemporary in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers and known as "Munro" in the book under discussion), in which Sassoon figures and which also contains an unedited first draft of one of the chapters from "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer". As the last old soldiers from the Great War die, it's worth reading this book just to remember what they went through.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Neil Skinner on 15 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
Sassoon's book is an accurate and thoughtful reflection upon his experiences during the First World War, though is naturally limited by the mores, attitudes and idiosyncrasies of his class and generation. I appreciate that these lessen the 'power' of the account and it's authenticity from the lower rank point of view, but we must accept them as an authentic account of one man's experience of a highly traumatic set of events. Whilst some passages of the book will live long with the reader (perhaps the most salient being his description of his nerves prior to going into battle), we cannot expect him to be able to write in a way that represents the experience for the common soldier. Let's be grateful that an articulate and accomplished officer actually survived the war to pass on this account, regardless as to whether they can show only one facet, i.e. that of the officer class.

Any subjective account of the First World War will be limited by the social position of the participant: at that time the UK had a very strong class structure. It is perhaps more of a shame that 'lower-class' soldiers were unable to publish their own accounts of the experience for other reasons (i.e. an unwillingness to discuss the war from a working class point of view immediately after the event, and perhaps a lack of publisher/reader interest).

Sassoon had the integrity to protest about the war both during and after the event, using his social position and talents as a writer. It is of course vital to remember that in doing so, he did not claim an exemption from its horrors (though it is perhaps an accurate reflection that he was spared ceaseless exposure, and hence lived to tell the tale).
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Linda O'connor on 10 May 2001
Format: Paperback
..I thought this a wonderful book, really bringing to life what it was like to be a soldier in the First World War. I found it entertaining, enthralling and also frightening when they finally reach the front line - and there is a real prospect of being killed. It also surprised me by being charming and funny too. Definitely not to be missed. Or better still, get the whole of the Sherston Trilogy. Don't be put off by the reference to foxhunting in the title of the first book. I hate hunting and I'm a vegetarian and I still loved it. Siegfried Sassoon clearly wasn't a cruel person and his books are marvellous.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Carl Bewley on 21 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
I was prompted to write a review following some of the negative appraisals on here about this fabulous novel.

It is a semi autobiographical account of his life and as such, he uses his poetic language and authors narrative to present the life of his alter ego George Sherston. Many of the events exactly mirror Sassoons own experience but it should be remembered that he remains detached from the emotional elements of the story as they unfold.

Sassoons experience of the Great War, (much like his counterpart Wilfred Owen) was not 'typical' of the working class Tommy in the trenches. It wouldn't be because he was an Officer and as such the experience differed from the Private in the trench as much as their social stature would have. This is evident in Sassoons novel where he discusses his extended sick leave in England or being billetted in farm houses with 'wine on tap' the night before battles.

However, it is his experience of the war and to dismiss it as 'not representative'of the First World War is missing the point entirely. I'm sure many survivors of the Great War (particularly the Officer classes) would relate to the vision as presented by Sassoon in this book.

I think a study of Sassoon's life shows that he was a brave soldier, an inspiring leader and very highly thought of by his men. His attitude towards 'servants' would have been typical of a man of his social standing during that period. It does not mean he did not care or dismissed their worth. Far from it, Sassoon championed their cause more as he saw the plight of the Infantry man first hand and was himself subjected to the worst horrors of the Western Front.

This novel provides a fictionalised character with a factual history.
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