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Journey to a War Paperback – 11 Jan 2002
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About the Author
W. H. Auden was born in York in 1907 and brought up in Birmingham. His first book, Poems, was published by T. S. Eliot at Faber in 1930. He went to Spain during the civil war, to Iceland (with Louis MacNeice) and later travelled to China. In 1939 he and Christopher Isherwood left for America, where Auden spent the next fifteen years lecturing, reviewing, writing poetry and opera librettos, and editing anthologies. He became an American citizen in 1946, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1948. In 1956 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and a year later went to live in Kirchstetten in Austria, after spending several summers on Ischia. He died in Vienna in 1973.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In this collaborative effort, Isherwood wrote the text and Auden contributed a substantial body of verse. There is also a very good selection of photos, mostly of people, both notable (Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Chou En-lai) and obscure (soldiers, peasants).
Throughout their journey, Auden and Isherwood were treated as dignitaries, shown every deference by the locals and granted numerous audiences with both Chinese and European officials. They seem to always be sitting down to tea with somebody! Except for the occasional Japanese air raid, the travelers never get all that close to the war. The front is always somewhere out there on the periphery. I didn't find the book particulary illuminating about the nature of the Sino-Japanese War. There are a few mentions of the atrocities committed by the Japanese Army, but not much detail. That criticism notwithstanding, JOURNEY TO A WAR is a very interesting book for armchair travelers, and Auden and Isherwood are pleasant and amusing traveling companions.
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