No Man's Land: Writings from a World at War Hardcover – 2 Jan 2014
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Splendid ... what a cast Ayrton has assembled ... The war, in all its calculated cruelty, its human impact, its formidable weapons of death and destruction and - yes - its futility, is captured brilliantly in this remarkable, wide-ranging anthology (Herald)
Trailblazing ... even avid readers of First World War prose will find eye-opening discoveries here (Boyd Tonkin Independent)
The essential collection of writing from the First World War ... wonderfully wide-ranging (The Times)
Handsomely produced ... impressive ... intriguing ... Ayrton's volume will undoubtedly send people in search of the books from which he has drawn such enticing extracts. It also stands as a tribute to the art of translation ... This marvellous book truly lives up to its subtitle (Peter Parker Times Literary Supplement 2014-08-01)
Every week, of every year, literary editors find among the haul of new books at least two about the world wars of the last century. In this centenary year the proportion has dramatically increased. This book, however, is different. If you want to know what the Great War of 1914-18 was really like, you need read no other. Peter Ayrton has collected the best prose about that war ... Every extract rings with authenticity ... He makes us understand that it was, truly, a world war ... Ayrton's selections direct sharp spotlights on significant extracts from many of the greatest writers. (The Tablet 2014-04-26)
International First World War fiction, from the trenches to the home front.See all Product Description
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by Pete Ayrton
This is a superb collection of World War 1 writings from forty-seven different authors. Pete Ayrton has put together a wide-ranging, hard-hitting compilation, which contains contributions from twenty-one of the (present day) countries involved in the conflict. There is also an extract from one country, Spain, who stayed on the sidelines and prospered while Europe tore itself to pieces.
Along with extracts from the World War 1 classics, The Good Soldier Svejk and All Quiet on the Western Front, there are pieces from William Faulkner, D.H.Lawrence, Céline, Seigfried Sassoon and Rose Macauley. No Man’s Land has writers whose descriptions of the great carnage were too strong for the censorship of the day. There is much in this book that is memorable, moving, heart-rending and disturbing. Stories of bravery, muddle, cowardice, pain, boredom, fortitude, fear. From the heroic to the bestial, all were made larger by the magnifying lens of the ‘Great War’. It’s not so great if you’re in it.
No Man’s Land opens with an extract from Henri Barbousse’s Under Fire, written during the war and containing the wistful phrase, ‘the war to end wars’. If only it had been. Had we learnt from the industrial scale slaughter of WW1, one hundred years ago, we might not be at each other’s throats today. This book, the writings of a sacrificed generation, is an important lesson from the past.