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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be back in print!
I first read this book when it was published as 'Middles Parts of Fortune', one of the few unexpurgated versions to appear with Manning named as author.
This novel fictionalises Manning's own war experiences. Although highly literate, he served throughout as a private. The book thus offers us a very rare insight into the Great War through the eyes of one of the...
Published on 20 April 2001

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The pity of war...
Gives a graphic image of the everyday awfulness of life in the trenches. Brought home to me how much of their time was spent in apparently aimless marching from location to location, billet to billet in between the more dramatic attacks on the enemy's front line. Manning gets under the skin of the serving Tommy and brings out the subtle variations in the way they viewed...
Published 8 months ago by Richie


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 8 Jan 2009
This review is from: Her Privates We (Paperback)
Yes it is a novel, as is 'All quiet on the western front', but it gives a great sense of what it was like for the ordinary soldiers. Most WWI memoirs were written by officers, and that gives them a very different point of view. The overall feel is very similar to 'All quiet..', but I find this a better read and I am surprised that it is not more famous than 'All quiet...'.
This book was quoted by a number of Great War veterans as being the best description of what it was like. In contrast, numbers of British veterans openly expressed doubts that Remarque was ever at the front -Wikipedia will give you some clues.
This is an essential read for anybody interested in WWI.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel so close to reality, 6 Oct 2012
By 
Mr. J. R. Orves "JRO" (Shropshire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Her Privates We (Paperback)
I came across Her Privates We by Frederic Manning when I was doing some research in my family tree. The reviews I read were that it gave a realistic view of a soldiers life in WWI. The main character was in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry which was the same regiment as my Great Uncle who died in the war. The book lived up to its good reviews, the best praise I can give is that once I had finished it I started to re-read it almost immediately. As one of the previous reviews states, the reader is shown how mundane life was. It shows how relationships developed between soldiers develop from very different backgrounds. The most startling bit was finding out after I had read it, that the first chapter describes the action in which my Great Uncle died... very sobering, making me look at the book in an entirely different way. I thoroughly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very powerful read., 12 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Her Privates We (Kindle Edition)
Terrific book about WW1.
Was originally banned because of its free use of four letter words, intended to be a realistic account of soldiers' language.
It's a moving book and gives a very compelling view of what it might have been like to be a private soldier in the build up to a "big push" on the Somme. The tension grows through the tedious and pointless manoeuvres, to the move up to the frontline and finally going over the top. The chapter dealing with the final battle is short but very powerful.
Really very impressive and moving.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lest We Forget, 10 Nov 2013
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Her Privates We (Serpent's Tail Classics) (Paperback)
This book was originally published as a private edition in 1929, under the title 'The Middle Parts of Fortune', and then the following year under the title 'Her privates We', which was a bowdlerized version for general publication. Of course things have moved on since 1930 and so we have here the original 1929 text.

Initially Manning was encouraged to write his war memoirs by Peter Davies, but instead he chose the medium of fiction, probably because it did give him a bit more leeway and a better chance to express things. What he produced was a best-seller in its day, and arguably the best thing he ever wrote. It is 1916 at the Somme, and we follow mostly Bourne, a private and his acquaintances, and those he come in contact with. If you are looking for an action packed read though, this isn't it. We first come across the soldiers as they return behind lines to have some rest, and rebuild the fighting strength of their units. And so for us, as readers, the first piece we have on the fighting that the soldiers have just done is when they try to sleep that night, with some not being able to drop off, and others who have, waking with nightmares.

Ultimately because this isn't full of action is why this novel works. We read about the arguments, the boredom of life, the endless parades and drills, as well as the training for the next big push. In the First World War class was still a rigid structure, and to some the actions of Bourne not being an officer, but a private is discomforting, on both sides of the class divide. And when we think of war we always think of battles and action, and overlook that the majority of the time is sheer boredom, waiting to fight, negotiating getting a good bottle of drink, not being able to do what you want, only at certain times, and waiting for communications from home.

This book brings all that to life as well as many other incidents, which really gives this a believable and true quality. Most of us have covered the war in history classes at school, and if like me you have also been lucky enough to visit a mock trench, and that does bring home to a certain extent what the conditions were for our great grandfathers, but this goes beyond that. This brings home the horror of war, the mundaneness of it at times, and the problems caused by weather, lice, etc. This is well worth reading, and would probably make a good choice for book groups as well. At the end of the day though what this really brings to life is the fatalism of the ordinary soldiers, the fact that they are cannon fodder, they know they are, but for numerous reasons still do their duty.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Be aware, 19 July 2014
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This review is from: Her Privates We (Serpent's Tail Classics) (Paperback)
Beware this is exactly the same book as 'The Middle Parts of Fortune: Somme and Ancre,1916' The title was originally used for the cleaned up version published in 1930. The current publisher has reverted to the original version of the text complete with expletives so there is no need to buy both books you will only get two of the same, albeit with different introductions
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4.0 out of 5 stars worth reading, 27 Nov 2014
By 
A. J. Hammond (Lancaster UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Her Privates We (Kindle Edition)
Had just read Emilio Lussu's book on the first world war from an Italian's point of view, and saw references to this book on Amazon. A straight forward book written in an honest way, and as the title of my review says well worth reading for anyone intested in the first world war. Probably time has rendered its shockingness (bad language etc) less shocking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A complicated and intelligent account of WWI, 9 May 2014
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This review is from: Her Privates We (Serpent's Tail Classics) (Paperback)
I enjoyed this book for the author's attempt to involve the reader in the trenches, to understand soldiers motives and attitudes and their experiences in war and the trenches.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The pity of war..., 12 April 2014
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This review is from: Her Privates We (Kindle Edition)
Gives a graphic image of the everyday awfulness of life in the trenches. Brought home to me how much of their time was spent in apparently aimless marching from location to location, billet to billet in between the more dramatic attacks on the enemy's front line. Manning gets under the skin of the serving Tommy and brings out the subtle variations in the way they viewed their plight. I found it rather over-written at times to the point where meaning was needlessly obscure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You could be there, 7 April 2014
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A wonderful recollection of life in the First World War. Manning paints a picture of life in those dreadful circumstances .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Found after nearly 50 years, 25 Mar 2014
By 
Amazon Customer (Whitehaven, Cumbria United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Her Privates We (Kindle Edition)
I first read this in 1965 during army service and thought then that it was the ultimate description of life in WW1. I still do, and so have been searching for the book now for many years. Unfortunately I remembered it only as 'Her Soldiers We' by an anonymous writer. I then saw it in a list of recommended WW1 books in the Telegraph and realised the correct title. If you wish to know the true meaning of war, I thoroughly recommend this book.
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Her Privates We (Serpent's Tail Classics)
Her Privates We (Serpent's Tail Classics) by Frederic Manning (Paperback - 5 Sep 2013)
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