Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
20
3.9 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£5.31+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 12 January 2015
Harrowing stuff. Not always as easy to get into the writer's experience as say with the British memoirs, but very descriptive of the everyday trialsof cold, hunger, lack of shelter and comforts.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 November 2013
To read the French experience of WW1 has been an eye-opener for me. More concerned with the day to day struggles of the soldiers than with those, supposedly, 'in command', I loved it.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 January 2011
The introduction to "Under Fire" tells us that the book was overwhelmingly well received at the time of publication and was read widely all over Europe. However, he also tells us that some critics rejected in on the grounds that it was unrealistic, and that Barbusse's account moved too far away from the reality of life in battle, and also featured a number of historical errors, and was overall, unconvincing.

The essential point to remember is, that "Under Fire" is fiction -- it is not war reportage or a literally factual account of the period.

Barbusse's work is being compared to Ernst Junger -- that is not accurate in any way. Junger's chilling yet beautifully written war diaries look at war as some kind of pagan Germanic rite, and he writes in a prose and narrative style that verges on the mystical. But also, Junger paradoxically views the carnage with an emphasis on 'chivalry' and 'gentlemanly conduct' , a prism on violence which is, admittedly, often difficult to comprehend to the modern reader. Also, Junger's work is fact -- Barbusse's book, it should be emphasised -- is fiction. "Under Fire" focuses on the drudgery of war, the banal boredom of waiting for days on end with nothing to do but eat rancid food,tend to the wounded,share wet tobacco, and drink dirty water in stinking, claustrophobic trenches.

Junger's book is written from the point of view, first and foremost, of aristocratic officers, whilst Barbusse's fiction is focused on foot soldiers and peasants. Junger's book focuses on bizarre, dreamlike, nightmarish and surreal aspects of war, expressed in a style which is highly cerebral and literary. Barbusse's book focuses on the stretcher bearers, the low ranking soldiers, who have to clean up the soldiers' ordure and waste.

I do not, by any means, wish to undervalue the footsoldiers' perspective on the war, or to judge it as 'less important' than Junger's officers -- That is clearly not the case.But, it is rather the case that Barbusse's account simply fails to hold the reader's attention in the same way that Junger captivates.

There are moments of brilliance in "Under Fire" -- Clouds are described as being like "wicked angels" and the sorry footsoldiers appear like "survivors from some monstrous shipwreck" -- but such moments of compelling, almost mystical description are not typical of Barbusse's style.

I respect Barbusse's place in the 'literary canon', and I respect his perspective on the war, so I will give it three stars. But I have to say, I did not enjoy the book and would not recommend it.

Overall, I was deeply disappointed by Barbusse's book.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 June 2009
this is a good adjusted translation and a must reed. Written in 1917 it narates the horror of war in general and WW I in special.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 December 2010
I have to admit I struggled with this. Although a relatively short book at a little over 300 pages the content got underway with a grim depiction of hell in the trenches and descended from there and for the remainder of the book to repeat and emphasise the point with ever more grim images. Shallow of me though it undoubtedly is by 200 pages I had read about one maggot eaten skull too many.

Not a light read by any stretch of the imagination
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 16 May 2014
Hav eyet to read but bought on basis of extract in "i" newspaper which was impressive with a gritty record of life at the front
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 March 2011
If you like me have read loads of doco books and real accounts on the Great War it becomes difficult to find a new read, this book is so so good , it is rare to find a Poilu's account translated into English ,the detail is sharper than any book i have read and keeps you hooked i will have to say this is one of the best books i have read, go on buy it!!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 October 2014
A view of the Great War seen by a Frenchman
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 August 2015
Good book.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 May 2015
Great
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse