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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UNRESERVEDLY RECOMMENDED TO ANYONE WITH AN INTEREST IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 4 Jan. 2008
This review is from: John Masefield's Great War: Collected Works (Hardcover)
John Masefield is not generally regarded per se as being one of the "The First World War Poets"; often 'August, 1914' is considered to be his only war poem. In this new volume of works by Masefield edited by Philip W. Errington, we discover the amazing breadth and depth of Masefield's output relating to the Great War. For Masefield it was truly a world war, his activities (official and otherwise) took him to France, Gallipoli and the United States of America and this remarkable new book includes the complete texts of all his published works assocated with the conflict.

The research that has gone into the collection of these texts has been a major scholarly undertaking, with examples being gleaned from the most obscure sources. Dr Errington has busied himself searching through archives round the globe to gather together articles by Masefield which have only before been seen by readers of The New York Times, Daily Chronicle, Manchester Guardian, Answers and Yale Alumni Weekly. In addition to a wealth of obscure journalistic items, all of which demonstrate Masefield's natural compassion and practical patriotism; this volume includes the texts of his four significant books on the war: Gallipoli, The Old Front Line, The War and the Future (published in England as St. George and the Dragon) and The Battle of the Somme. Although these four works were intended to be official accounts, in some ways verging on pure propaganda, Masefield remains his own man and retains his unique view of historic events. The strength of character in the narration, adds considerable power to the writing.

This is a book that will have wide appeal. To students of the First World War it provides much previously inaccessible: original first-hand material written by a significant literary figure. To those interested in the historic development of propaganda and spin Masefield's remit to enhance Britain's standing in the United States is uniquely interesting. For those interested in John Masefield's life and works we have here a treasury of hitherto unobtainable works.

Dr. Errington's lengthy introduction is a considerable contribution to Masefield scholarship in itself, providing a comprehensive background to Masefield's wartime activities as well as a full description of the editorial choices. For anyone wishing to pursue their own research Dr Errington provides a detailed list of his sources, the scope of these demonstrate the huge amaount of trawling through archival material that has gone into making this entertaining and informative book a work which casts a new light on an important period in world history, and one I would recommend unreservedly to anyone with an interest in the poet or in the period.
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