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on 2 February 2010
I think I read this long ago but had forgotten both the content and the message. Seeing the film recently, with its inevitable gaps in the action, invoked the need to re-read. This is not high drama but the characters are richly varied and and fascinating. This particular edition is such a pleasure to handle - a "proper" book with a long and detailed foreword which explains so much of Evelyn Waugh's reaction to his wartime experience and the utter chaos, confusion and the comical cock-ups of the management of WW2. How did we ever survive it all? Perhaps just because most of us were totally unaware of how unco-ordinated and incompetent some of the movers and shakers actually were. A few great heroes and leaders and untold numbers of hard working, conscientious human beings obeying orders, all of them being messed up by idiots in high places. I suppose that is how wars have always been and ever will be - until human nature grows up.
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on 24 October 2008
Though Waugh's political ideas are quite different from mine, though his description of Italy and Italians is rather shallow and oversimplified (he's an Englishman after all), though his narrative technique is rather conventional--this is one of the best novels about W.W.II and one of the best novels on 20th-Century Britain. Waugh was evidently a clever man, who had brilliant insights on the changes which were taking place in his country and the world. And he was armed with a devastating sense of humour, which never fails him, even in the direst moments of his long and intricate tale. All in all, one of the great narratives of the Second World War, and a brilliant novelistic achievement. (Let me add that Waugh's cleverness can be appreciated in his description of the Jugoslavian partisans: while reading that part of Unconditional Surrender, I kept telling me "No wonder Jugoslavia blew up in the end"... most of what happened from 1991 to 1999 was already there...)
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on 26 October 2007
The finest novelist of his generation, now largely ignored by the dimmer left-wing critics who control UK arts. Yes he was a snob, yes he had some right wing views. None of this should blind anyone to his skill as a writer. Hugely funny, sympathetic and observant Waugh was a master of the English language in a way that is seldom seen nowadays. This trilogy was made into a largely unsuccessul TV adaptation, unsuccessful because the skill is in the writing and without a narrator (which is TV death) it becomes merely an averagely good story with some above average dialogue. Read and enjoy.
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on 9 June 2009
Hard to fault this hardback of the 3 Sword of Honour novels which the critics will tell you was the best thing Waugh wrote.

I left reading Frank Kermode's introduction until the end. It is up to his usual lucid standards, but left me slightly confused about some of the editorial changes which were made by Waugh later and whether the book in my hands represented Waugh's final wishes or not. Also, although Kermode praises the novels, somehow he managed to diminish them slightly for me. I should have left reading the introduction for a few weeks after reading the book.
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on 4 April 2015
Evelyn Waugh does not disappoint. War, catholicism, the oddness of people, fate and army life all explored with lightness of touch and humour that only witers of Waugh's ilk can achieve.
Good writing.
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on 24 February 2012
The three books in this trilogy make a very easy read, with a lightness of touch, which belies the serious issues which Waugh is developing throughout these books.
The key selling point for this Everyman Edition is the introduction by Frank Kermode which provides a detailed insight into the life and work of Evelyn Waugh during the twenty-year period when Waugh conceived and wrote these three books. Kermode's analysis is the most revealing literary criticism of Waugh's work which I have read, and highlights the underlying themes not always obvious in Waugh's light-fingered and humourous writing.
I would also commend the 2003 Sword of Honour DVD with Daniel Craig as Guy Crouchback, which captures Waugh's ethos and the books' tragi-comedy so wonderfully. (For £10, and of course there is also the earlier 1986 Men at Arms DVD).
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on 27 January 2015
No problem with supplier: unfortunately the print size is a little too small for me, so I don't think I shall be able to read this version....John
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on 7 May 2014
I read the trilogy several times over the past 40 years and the three paperback books are now frayed and a bit dog-eared. So I decided to invest in this set. It is great condition and I'm very pleased with the purchase.
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on 18 August 2013
This is a great story, read, and I highly recommend it. It is a story about seemingly real people and brings the reader into the heart of their lives during this time.
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on 16 July 2015
This is probably my favourite series of novels - this book contains the three 'Sword Of Honour' novels. Brilliant, cynical writing. Should be a must read.
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