Alamein to Zem Zem Unknown Binding – 1946
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Page 271 : ‘A young tank officer, Keith Douglas, served in the North Africa campaign, and wrote an excellent memoir about his experiences, Alamein to Zem Zem. ‘In tank warfare you only saw your enemy when he surrendered or when as in Vergissmeinnicht, you came upon his rotting corpse.’ Douglas was killed himself in Normandy a year later, leaving arguably the best war poems of any Englishman in the conflict.’
I’ve grown to be wary of such accolades – especially the ‘arguably’ – which often seems to be used as an rear-guarding caveat, for just about anything can be so described – but my interest in the literature of war; the even tenor of the introductions to the various sections of the anthology and the selection of poems were good enough for me to order Keith Douglas’s book from Amazon.
I found that reading material by a person whom you know was killed a short time later (Alamein took place in November 1942 and the author was killed in July 1944) was quite special but in a way I find difficult to define. I can however say that it’s very different from reading the memoirs of someone you know didn’t die until some considerable period of time after they had written a book e.g. Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe.
I wonder what the mechanics of setting down Alamein to Zem Zem were? At the very least he must have scribbled in down in a jotter and then passed it on to get written-up. Also, how did he manage to find time to write? There seems something of Isaac Rosenberg in his hurried scribblings, something quite noble.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Superb and concise account of a tank commander in North Africa in and around AlameinPublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
It does not have his poems, but you did not say that when advertising it. I would give it 5 stars if it was complete. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Diana
As with any diary this was a very personalised record of an important time in WW2 and gives a detailed picture of tank warfare over a small space of time and led me to look at... Read morePublished on 14 Feb. 2014 by Des
Superbly written, clear, factual, no false emotion or sentiment, no self pity or evading the contradictions inherent in war. Hugely illuminating.Published on 12 May 2013 by J Colvin