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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 20 August 2012
I'd been warned off this book because of the literary style of language used but it wasn't a problem. I should add here that my grandfather fought in the South Downs Regiment from 1916 to 1918 alongside Edmund Blunden (our only family heirloom is a first edition of the book dedicated to my grandfather "for his friendship in Flanders") so I was curious to learn more about what they experienced. It's definitely a book worth reading although I did prefer Sassoon's "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer".
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on 2 March 2014
Excellent memoir of Blunden's experience as a junior British infantry officer between 1916-1918, in the Givenchy sector, on the Somme and in the Ypres Salient and at Passchendaele.
His poetic preoccupation with the landscape is evident in his prose. He talks about shells bursting just after describing the wild flowers in the country lanes.
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As eyewitness accounts go, this is an odd one. Written in the "Disenchantment" years between the wars; when many veterans railed against the way the war was fought, or why the the war was fought, or what the world had failed to become afterwards; this is a much gentler book than most other first hand accounts.

Blunden, unfairly, is probably not as well known a war poet as Sassoon, or Graves, or the unfortunate Owen. A shame, because he is every bit as good. His prose in this book is lyrical to the point of being poetical, his descriptions evocative, his criticisms rare & mostly oblique. Included, by the author, at the end of the book are some 40 pages of his poems. As he explains in his foreword, this is deliberate; a different way of expressing & explaining some of the things he experienced.

You'll find this a very different book to any other veterans' first-hand account, and certainly very different from any modern compilation of eyewitness experiences. You'll also find it well worth your time.
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on 18 November 2013
Difficult read. Not always easy to follow the time and location changes. Brilliant descriptions of place and soldier's response to seasonal changes despite the killing madness of war.
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on 17 October 2012
THE AUTHOR WRITES WITH SINCERITY ABOUT THE FIRST WORLD WAR AND HE SHOWS TENDERNESS AND AFFECTIOMN FOR HIS MEN. THE CHAPTER CONCERNING THE BATTLE OF THE BOARS HEAD IN WHICH HE WAS INVOLVED SHOWS UP THE ARROGANCE AND IGNORANCE OF THE GENERALS. THE PHRASE "lions led by donkeys" is more than an adequate descripion.
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on 8 December 2002
It takes a bit of getting used to reading a book as old as this, you don't realise how much the use of language changes over time. Edmund Blunden was clearly a wonderful writer and experienced the full horrors of WW1. I found the book however ultimately unsatisfying. This is possibly because we live in an age where everything is very explicit whereas Blunden's writings are poetic and subtle. I'll probably read this book again in a few years and reappraise it.
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on 25 July 2014
This is a must-read book if you want to learn more about the Battles of the Somme and Ypres. Blunden uses his poetical skills to involve his reader in trench warfare during World War One.
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on 14 October 2013
Nothing quite like reading first hand accounts from the trenches. Gives a much better feel to what they had to put up with and more so when you visit Flanders to pay your respects.
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on 4 May 2013
But I'm not fond of his writing style. I have not opened this for about six months because I have so much trouble with it. To me his writing is stilted and doesn't flow.
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on 28 August 2013
This book is brillian I found it very warming as I am a huge fan hen it comes to gaining extra knowledge! It is a brilliant book to be able to say that I have read!!
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