Probably the best novel to come out of WWI, Manning includes some well thought out analysis of the effects of a battle situation on men and on groups of men. Besides his asides on the inevitiblity but also the futiltiy of war; we are treated to a very touching story of companionship under times of great stress. Much of the action takes place behind the lines in the bars and restaurants of the Somme region. Bourne, knows he is different and better educated etc. and is comfortable with officer and soldier class alike. He is soon pressured into going for a comission and although not overly keen, he sees that it is inevitable. He decides to go over the top one more time before being sent back for officer training. A thoroughly good read, I can honestly reccomend it.