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Good-Bye to All That: An Autobiography Paperback – 28 Sep 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books; annotated edition edition (28 Sept. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571810226
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571810229
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,893,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From the Inside Flap

Robert Graves' superb autobiography tells the story of his life at public school and as a young officer during the First World War.

'From the moment of its first appearance an established classic' --John Wain in the Observer

'It is a permanently valuable work of literary art, and indispensable for the historian either of the First World War or of modern English poetry... Apart, however, from its exceptional value as a war document, this book has also the interest of being one of the most candid self- portraits of a poet, warts and all, ever painted. The sketches of friends of Mr Graves, like T. E. Lawrence, are beautifully vivid' --The Times Literary Supplement

'One of the classic accounts of the Western Front. . . In it the veteran survivors recognised their own war' – The Times

For more titles in the Penguin Classics range, visit Amazon.co.uk's Penguin Classics Bookstore. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I decided to read this book after a discussion on radio 4's " Good reads". I found it easy to read and it is an interesting account of a time and lifestyle long gone. The accounts of his time in the trenches are told in a very matter of fact way which belies the horror. The way he tells this gives an insight into how many of the men coped with the life. It is, of course, a view from the officer class rather than that of the ordinary soldier. However, I found the account of his life post war less engaging and this probably reflects a man who had learned to control his emotions. It does feel that the latter part of the book is tagged on , almost as if written by another author which, I suppose is exactly what he was. A changed man.
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Reading 'Goodbye to all that' many decades after it was written I found a remarkably frank picture of life of the privileged class prior to, during, and following the 1st World War. The world was changing fast and Graves describes how his conservative parents never forgave him for (eventually) calling himself a socialist.

Graves hated Charterhouse ('from my first moment I suffered an oppression of spirit that I hesitate to recall in its full intensity') and describes how he learned to cope with the totally anti-intellectual values that prevailed. At Charterhouse success in games made the man: he considered cricket the most objectionable because it wasted the most time in the best part of the year. Fortunately boxing success gave Graves the necessary status to cope.

Graves did not suffer fools gladly, and he valued personal strengths - whether found in the so-called privileged or working classes. His honesty here is remarkable.

In his harrowing descriptions of life in the 1st World War trenches I found myself thinking rather along the lines of Black Adder - would I have gone readily 'over the top' (probably), or would I have shown the conspicuous bravery of Graves and many others? (probably not). Survival was a matter of luck, and Graves survived. 'We learned not to duck a rifle bullet because, once heard, it must have missed'. Graves explains that hardly one soldier in a hundred was inspired by religious feeling, even of the crudest kind; and they had little respect for Anglian regimental chaplains who were remarkably out of touch with their troops - they scuttled up to the front to do their job and quickly scuttled back again.

Graves pulled strings to get his own way, and his privileged background helped here.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I should have read this classic at school but left it much later to read. Young Graves seems really unlikeable and I wanted to give up reading the section about his childhood. I persevered and his description of life and death in the trenches was worth it. I quite forgave him for being such a shallow youngster and ended up admiring him for his conduct during WW1. Shame that the final section of the book confirmed my original view of him. For a real insight into the horrors of war this takes some beating.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good read, charting the early life of RG from his early childhood and how he hated his time at Charterhouse.He joined up straight from school, fought on the Western Front as a commissioned officer to the time he, his wife and family spent in Egypt when he was a Professor at Cairo University.
This book is an important account of an officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers and his experiences of the Great War on the Western Front.
I read this book over a weekend I just could not put it down!
Anyone with an interest in WW1 who has read other books on the subject should read this book too!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the first and greatest of biographical accounts of WW1. Written not long after the war, it's delightful in its old school understated heroic ways. It thankfully predates the cloying modern equivalents. Discretion is the best part of valour. Interesting about his life, briefly, after the war - taking him to roughly age 35.
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An outstanding recollection of life during the Great War. It is so helpful for those who wish to attempt to think constructively about 'the war to end all wars', to read about how those involved at the time felt and thought. We have heard so much from those who would characterize all involved as deluded. It is good to be reminded of the real challenges the army faced and the camerarderie felt towards those they served with.

A first class read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book many years ago. I bought this small hardback as this is a book I would like to last and not yellow. His account of his war experiences is riveting, and while his life before and after was more humdrum, he is an engaging writer, and his account is never less than interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book for anyone interested in life during WW1 - the description of life in the trenches is both harrowing and graphic. Graves transition from middle class snob to socialist defines the life journey off his early years.
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