Top critical review
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False, headline grabbing claim mars competent account.
on 6 December 2011
There is much that is thorough and good in this book, though nothing that was not already pretty common knowledge.
However, it was ruined for me by the claims Hollis made to 'understand ' the reasons for Thomas's enlisting. The hackneyed old argument about the gamekeeper incident and Thomas's anxiety about his courage is just plausible as a small component in his decision.
But the passage about the famous poem,The Road not Taken, by Frost having a clinching influence is frankly ludicrous. Hard not to believe it's there because it is a famous poem.The letter Thomas wrote about it shows , for me, that it made scarcely any impact on him at all.
Thomas made it clear time and time again why he was enlisting: to fight for the soil of the country he loved. He could not continue to appreciate it aesthetically, write about it, express his tenderness and passion for it, yet refuse to defend it.
Hollis's claim is an insult to Thomas's maturity and patriotism, a patriotism which may now seem strange to us but in the context of his times was very general.
I am seriously annoyed that people are reading this book and taking in this message!