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Amongst mud and machinery
on 30 April 2009
Straight away you're there amongst mud and machinery, facing terrible odds. But this book does not reveal itself like a set piece drama. It is not about genre, nor is it about the narrator and his ambitions. The account is relayed via contemporary letters which are delicately constructed to reveal the complexity and insanity of situation after situation. It is so clearly written that the images of battle reverberate around the mind, as if they had been on the silver screen. The accounts related in Conquest of the Factories for instance, of defending buildings with bricks when the ammo ran out, are so gripping because they are so personal.
The lack of mannerism had another effect too, I read the book as if it were me who had found those letters. Right through the work I was compelled to ask myself, what if it were me, what would I do, how would I cope? The account felt first hand.