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A Moment of War (The Autobiographical Trilogy Book 3) [Kindle Edition]

Laurie Lee
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

‘A Moment of War’ is the magnificent conclusion to Laurie Lee’s autobiographical trilogy begun in ‘Cider with Rosie’ and ‘As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning’.



It was December 1937 when the young Laurie Lee crossed the Pyrenees and walked into the bitter winter of the Spanish Civil War. With great vividness and poignancy, Lee portrays the brave defeat of youthful idealism in Auden’s ‘low dishonest decade’.



Writing in the Literary Review, John Sweeney praised the memoir as, ‘A great, heart-stopping narrative of one young Englishman’s part in the war in Spain … crafted by a poet, stamping an indelible image of the boredom, random cruelty and stupidity of war’


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Review

A work of lyrical intensity. Read it and salute one of Britain's finest writers (Daily Mail)

A great, heart-stopping narrative of one young Englishman's part in the war in Spain . . . crafted by a poet, stamping an indelible image of the boredom, random cruelty and stupidity of war (Literary Review)

This story aches with unforgotten cold and trembles with unforgotten terror (Guardian)

About the Author

Laurie Lee has written some of the best-loved travel books in the English language. Born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 1914, he was educated at Slad village school and Stroud Central School. At the age of nineteen he walked to London and then travelled on foot through Spain, where he was trapped by the outbreak of the Civil War. He later returned by crossing the Pyrenees, as he recounted in A Moment of War. Laurie Lee published four collections of poems: The Sun My Monument (1944), The Bloom of Candles (1947), My Many-Coated Man (1955) and Pocket Poems (1960). His other works include The Voyage of Magellan (1948), The Firstborn (1964), I Can't Stay Long (1975), and Two Women (1983). He also wrote three bestselling volumes of autobiography: Cider with Rosie (1959), which has sold over six million copies worldwide, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991).

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More About the Author

Laurie Lee was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 1914, and was educated at Slad village school and Stroud Central School. At the age of nineteen he walked to London and then travelled on foot through Spain, where he was trapped by the outbreak of the Civil War. He later returned by crossing the Pyrenees, as described in his book A Moment of War. In 1950 he married Catherine Polge and they had one daughter.

Laurie Lee published four collections of poems: The Sun My Monument (1944), The Bloom of Candles (1947), My Many-Coated Man (1955) and Pocket Poems (1960). His other works include The Voyage of Magellan (1948), a verse play for radio; A Rose for Winter (1955), which records his travels in Andalusia; The Firstborn (1964); I Can't Stay Long (1975), a collection of his occasional writing; and Two Women (1983). He also wrote three bestselling volumes of autobiography: Cider with Rosie (1959), which has sold over six million copies worldwide, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991), which are also published by Penguin in a single volume entitled Red Sky at Sunrise (1992).

Laurie Lee died in May 1997. In its obituary the Guardian wrote, 'He had a nightingale inside him, a capacity for sensuous, lyrical precision', and the Independent praised him as 'one of the great writers of this century whose work conjured up a world of earthy warmth and beauty'.



Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Laurie Lee's spare, unsentimental memoir of his experience as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War should take a place, I think, with Orwell's Homage to Catalonia as one of the English language classics of the time. Moved by idealistic sympathy for the Republican cause, Lee begins with his winter's journey by foot across the Pyrenees only to be taken as facist infiltrator and thrown into an underground pit-prison with a soon to executed deserter. Eventually allowed to join the International Brigade, he continues to tell a story of disillusionment: "I imagined a shoulder-to-shoulder brotherhood, a brave camaraderie joined in one purpose, not the fragmentation of national groups scattered around the courtyard talking wanly only to each other. Indeed they seemed to share a mutual air of unease and watchfulness, of distrust and even dislike." Yet A Moment of War is not sour story. Its prose evokes awareness heightened by danger and deprivation. Of a humble bowl of bean soup Lee writes, "Bean soup hot and chunky, with an interesting admixture of tar, but to me a gluttonous reward after almost two weeks of near famine in the cave. I remembered again the concentration of the senses, of smell and flavor, that hunger brings to appetite, and with each steaming spoonful I was also aware of the grime of the unscrubbed table, the rusting metal of the soup plate, the sharp frozen landscape outside, almost the fatness of each bean." Of a chance reencounter with a Spanish girl who smells of "fresh mushrooms and tampled thyme, woodsmoke and burning orange," he recalls the heady, sensual magic of being young, the "rare and magnetic driving patterns of youth, cutting across the humdrum chaos of the multitudes. Read more ›
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifull and haunting 9 May 2003
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is Lee's third and final installment of his autobiographical trilogy.
Unlike Orwell, Borkenau or Hemmingway, Lee was not a middleclass young man with a private income. He was a worker-poet, and this life experience, combined with his remarkable talent with the english language, brings across an incredible clarity and immediacy to his writing that earlier english authors all too often lacked.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, but a book such as this tells much more than pictures ever could.
This book paints a worms eye view of a country 'at war with itself', the suffering and brutalisation of the the experience of the people he meets is all the more vivid because it is banal - theres no melodrama. Its just there, just a fact, like mud.
If you have an interest in the Spanish War then this is a vital addition to your library, but if you just enjoy good literature then this is also a book you shouldn't die without having read.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Conclusion to a Towering Trilogy. 6 Sept. 2009
By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I have sat in the Woolpack Inn at Slad in the Cotswolds, the village where Laurie Lee was brought up, and the area he so beautifully evokes in his hymn for a lost countryside "Cider with Rosie". The pub licensee informed me that Lee was once a regular and I imagined him telling tales by a crackling winters fire to a spellbound audience. I have a feeling he would have been good entertainment. I also paid my respects at his grave in the nearby churchyard. Perhaps not having the two pear ciders before would have been more respectful, but I am sure Laurie would have understood. I feel some kinship to him as he was a west country man through and through, and came from humble origins. When I recently walked the Cotswold Way I passed again close to Slad and so I decided to read "A Moment in War" the last short book in his trilogy that has taken me 20 years to complete.

After Lee's bittersweet childhood, at the age of nineteen he travelled to Spain with his violin in a sort of rights of passage journey. He travelled mostly on foot and came to know and love the country and its people intimately. At that time the country was on the brink of civil war. He decribes this journey in his book "As I walked out One Midsummers Morning". In "A Moment in War" he returns to Spain to fight in the International Brigades against Franco. This follows his adventures as he crosses the Pyrenees in winter to join the fight. If you are looking for action then you will find nothing apart from one brief skirmish. But if you want a truthful depiction of the realities of war, then look no further. War means hunger and poverty. Lee arrives in Tarazona to find the only food he can purchase are beech nuts. The following passage sums things up neatly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful prose about an ugly war 28 Oct. 2013
By Tigger
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Laurie Lee describes his experience with no self pity about the hardships he endured. His prose at times is so lyrical it seems to almost be out of place in the ravaged surroundings he finds himself in. However, having previously read his book 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning' this book A Moment Of War' had a lot to live up to and unfortunately failed to reach the unforgettable heights of the aforementioned book. This kindle version disappointingly omitted the illustrations which were listed on the last page.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MOMENT OF WAR 5 Dec. 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having read the other two Laurie Lee books that form this trilogy, I was keen to complete it. In no way was I disappointed. You are left with the cliffhanger at the end of,"As I Walked Out..." and this book cruised straight on. The heat of the previous book is forgotten as you enter the freezing paths of the Pyrenees and the even colder events of the Spanish Civil War. A real treat. I've just ordered, "A Rose For Winter," to continue reading his works on visiting Spain.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 2 days ago by Mike Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Book in very good condition looking forward to reading it.
Published 16 days ago by Lynn
4.0 out of 5 stars it's good
not his best but an important part of his life.
Published 2 months ago by Dr.Uid
5.0 out of 5 stars ... the Spanish Civil War the precursor to WWII ba fine story teller...
Recollections of the Spanish Civil War the precursor to WWII ba fine story teller who was there..
Published 3 months ago by Alec
5.0 out of 5 stars narrating a youngerster's exploring the world an eye of an experienced...
eloquent, poetic, sophisticated, narrating a youngerster's exploring the world an eye of an experienced knower of life such a brilliant combination
Published 4 months ago by ling-sze tam
5.0 out of 5 stars Military Service
Good stuff, but no less than one would expect from an author of Laurie Lee's stature.
Published 5 months ago by shannon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
excellent!
Published 5 months ago by zef
4.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful bauble of faction
This is a beautiful exercise in lyricism. It is hard to piece together a coherent story from what is written and most of it seems to be about a man's interface with random... Read more
Published 5 months ago by oto_jo
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Ok
Published 5 months ago by Von dean
1.0 out of 5 stars A work of imagination
9 weeks on the back-lines. Historically useless, compared to George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. More magical realism than autobiography.
Published 6 months ago by Ferdinand
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