Frederic Manning: Her Privates We

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The First World War in literature makes me think of Farewell to Arms and All Quiet on the Western Front. Manning's Her Privates We is perhaps less known, but deserves a place with those classics. The book tells the story of Bourne, a simple soldier fighting in France, apparently quite like the author did.

As this is an honest book, it's not much about fighting and a lot about what happens in between. The life behind the front is boring, though the alternatives aren't charming either. Bourne is an intelligent man, perhaps somewhat unlike his fellows, yet he fits in and doesn't really want the promotion they want to give to him. There's the futility of the war, and then there's the strong companionship between the men.

Manning paints a beautiful literary picture of a horrid thing. The crude language of the soldiers (at least in the non-bowdlerized editions), the vivid descriptions of mud and ruins, of all the uncomforts of military life, it is all described in detailed, beautiful prose. If you're looking for a good book about war, particularly the First World War, look no further. (Review based on the Finnish translation.) [ Her Privates We at ]Her Privates We at LibraryThing ]

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This page contains a single entry by Mikko published on January 24, 2008 12:32 PM.

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