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On the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I: a hardcover edition of one of the best and most famous memoirs of the conflict.
Good-bye to All That was published a decade after the end of the first World War, as the poet and novelist Robert Graves was preparing to leave England for good. The memoir documents not only his own personal experience, as a patriotic young officer, of the horrors and disillusionment of battle, but also the wider loss of innocence the Great War brought about. By the time of his writing, a way of life had ended, and England and the modern world would never be the same. In Graves's portrayal of the dehumanizing misery of the trenches, his grief over lost friends, and the surreal absurdity of government bureaucracy, Graves uses broad comedy to make the most serious points about life and death.
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The quintessential memoir of the generation of Englishmen who suffered in World War I is among the bitterest autobiographies ever written. Robert Graves's stripped-to-the-bone prose seethes with contempt for his class, his country, his military superiors, and the civilians who mindlessly cheered the carnage from the safety of home. His portrait of the stupidity and petty cruelties endemic in England's elite schools is almost as scathing as his depiction of trench warfare. Nothing could equal Graves's bone-chilling litany of meaningless death, horrific encounters with gruesomely decaying corpses, and even more appalling confrontations with the callousness and arrogance of the military command. Yet this scarifying book is consistently enthralling. Graves is a superb storyteller, and there's clearly something liberating about burning all your bridges at 34 (his age when Good-Bye to All That was first published in 1929). He conveys that feeling of exhilaration to his readers in a pell-mell rush of words that remains supremely lucid. Better known as a poet, historical novelist, and critic, Graves in this one work seems more like an English Hemingway, paring his prose to the minimum and eschewing all editorializing because it would bring him down to the level of the phrase- and war-mongers he despises. --Wendy SmithFrom the Publisher:
English novelist, poet, and essayist Graves, author of I, Claudius describes the break he made with his past in 1929. In chronicling his youth, World War I experiences, and years at Oxford, Graves gives parallel accounts of the end of his own innocence and that of the world prior to the Great War.
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