This extensive and unusual collection, taken pedrominatly from lesser-known poetry volumes, approaches the subject of war from a valuable angle of incidence.
Whereas Fussell may have been the first to devote serious attention to the homo-erotic element in 1914-1918 literature, Mr Taylor's single focus is this "secret sin", which has long been overlooked.
Small wonder, the complex emotional cluster created by (public school and middle-class) male admiration, power, the extremity and unspeakability of emotions contributed to the intimacy of mutual relationships. Set barely two decades after Wilde, this ticklish subject might well have been deliberately overlooked for far too long.
It is much to the author's credit that his approach is characterized by a touch of diffidence whilst widening up the reader's insight into a sensitive aspect of life, death and writing at the front.
In its domain, the introduction to the poetry collection is welcome extra, and an epitome of delicacy and expertise in its own right.
(This review refers to the 1998 Duckworth paperback edition)