Voices From the Great War
Bringing together Sigmund Freud, Osip Mandelstam, Lloyd George, Bertrand Russell, Isaac Rosenberg, Sigfried Sassoon, Vera Brittain -voices famous and unknown - Peter Vansittart takes us through the course of the Great War, juxtaposing letters from the trenches with music-hall songs, and the words of poets and politicians. Linking the public and the personal, the history wi...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 5th 1998 by Pimlico
(first published May 26th 1983)
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This was an odd, random, and somewhat nonsensical book, though I suspect that style was deliberately entertained to oust the contradictions of "the Great War." He delighted in showing off ironies of expressed sentiment versus realities of conflict (59, 178). He did a good job of demonstrating some of the false mixtures of warfare and religion that often occur (40-41, 224-225, 231), and exposing emergent hatred (69, 188). He also depicted some of the filthy aspects that emerge during war. The poe...more
I read this because I had just finished reading Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks and I wanted to soak up the atmosphere and really try to understand what it was like out in France during the First World War. There was a lot of political quotes which gave an insight into how it all came about - which to my shame I wasn't aware of. It also contained poems and letters home from both sides. It was interesting and moving.