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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 13 June 2017
Lovely book and excellent service thanks.
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on 11 November 2010
This is a truly and unexpectedly amazing book - taking the reader in stages into the hell of the First World War.

What sets it apart in my opinion are three things;

Firstly it is undeniably and gloriously authentic. This is not someone blinded by emotion, either jingoism or fear, but someone who sat through the experience open eyed and concious throughout.

Secondly this isn't a personal account. It manages to feel utterly objective and utterly real without worrying about the author's peron. Somewhere in the blurb it talks about the writing being triple-distilled, which is a very good analogy for its clarity yet depersonalised style.

Finally the sense of meaning is marvellous - Christian and Arthurian, but also Classical and Valkerian, just a superb piece of rich, resonating purpose. The meaning it conveys to me is a sense that we matter, individually, no matter what - a religious hymn to humanity. A precis doesn't really work but read it and I think you'll understand what I mean.
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on 27 July 2009
Of all the books written after the first world war by those that fought in the trenches this is the oddest, quirkiest and strangest. At the same time it has a hypnotic power that by the end involves the reader in the sadness of fighting and dying. The sheer boredom that was the soldier's lot, the endless, mindless, waiting.... Its not a narrative. If you like a story this is not for you. If you like the power of words to transform your perceptions, then it is. Jones was without doubt a great poet; but his poetry is too idiosyncratic and too referenced to ever have a large or popular following. Be that as it may, it does not take away the quality of this work.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 5 November 2005
Most writers about the First World War treat it as a war without values or meaning. David Jones - in what holds serious claim to be the literary masterpiece of that war - confounds this image by seeing meaning everywhere. In a richly-figured, highly poetic work (whether it's a novel or a poem is debatable) Jones reinterprets the realities of trench life with images drawn from religion and mythology, so that those fighting on both sides become pitched in refighting an endless war.
The details of the soldier's life are presented unsentimentally, with a more realistic sense of army life arising than one might find in more ostensibly tragic poets such as Owen or Sassoon. At the same time, the brutality of war is brilliantly evoked in the climactic battle scene. The modernist flourishes (much praised by T.S. Eliot) are an important dimension in Jones's craft here, but he taps more explicitly into British legends than Eliot or Pound, and the national element becomes especially important to a work that draws on Shakespeare's "Henry V" as a picture of Britons at war in France.
Seventy years after publication, "In Parenthesis" remains the best known literary work by a poet-painter who has remained little known outside a circle of faithful devotees. It's tempting to think that this is largely due to its emotional core, and the fact that it can still tell us a great deal about a conflict that has become almost exhausted by cliche.
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on 5 January 2010
This book is fascinating: a 1920s Modernist stream of consciousness novel set in the trenches.

What makes it interesting is that it gives you the moment by moment sensations of being an infantryman in the Great War: the fragments of song and conversation, the sensations of being shelled or of just waking up in the trenches, with the whole business of trying to make a cup of tea and have something to eat.

It puts you inside the mind of a soldier; amazing, really.

The literary references are interesting as well, and made me want to reread the Morte D'Arthur of Malory.

Unforgettable, fascinating.
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on 17 November 2016
I found this book a strange disjointed work, that conveyed very little of the first world war to me. Some sections were completely incomprehensible
There are many many better WW1 autobiographies . I know it's supposed to be a poem but oh dear ....
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on 12 June 2014
If you read just one book about War World I this year, make it this one. Beautifully written, it evokes the reality of the war with such emotion and descriptive power that you feel the soldiers' pains with them.
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on 19 January 2016
An exceptionally different WWI account from the trenches, full of poetry, literature, mythology and history as well as personal observation and fellow-feeling. A piece of poetry (as prose) itself, but I've not read 'Anathemata' so can't judge David Jones' poetry.
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on 26 February 2014
It's a great book and I'm the type that likes to scribble in the margins, so the generous page formatting and quality paper were a definite plus. Eliot's introduction and Jones' own preface lent a great sense of context to the book, excellent read.
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on 21 September 2016
T S Eliot says that this is the greatest First World War poem written. I think he's probably right. I don't think I've read anything so moving. It's not for faint hearts. It tells of the authors experience joining Kitchener's Army and going into Battle at the Somme, his first battle experience and the slaughter of of many of his comrades and his own wounding. All this is the most beautiful prose and poetry. All I can say is "WOW"
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