Unconditional Surrender
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Unconditional Surrender (Sword of Honour #3)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  509 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Guy Crouchback has lost his Halberdier idealism. A desk job in London gives him the chance of reconciliation with his former wife. Then, in Yugoslavia, as a liaison officer with the partisans, he finally becomes aware of the futility of a war he once saw in terms of honour.
Published October 25th 2007 by Penguin Group(CA) (first published 1961)
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This final volume in the Swords of Honour trilogy, sees Guy Crouchback back in England. After two years training the new brigade of Halberdiers, he suffers the blow of being too old to be taken into battle. Again, Guy's war turns into a waiting game, involving chance and mis-chance as he is chosen by the new Electronic Personnel Selector for special employment, only to have old security issues and a chance encounter with Ludovic, now a Major in the intelligence corps with literary aspirations, d...more
Waugh, Evelyn. UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER. (1961). ****. This was Waugh’s final novel in his trilogy, “Sword of Honor.” Although not specifically named, I suspect that the ‘sword’ he referred to was that made by King George for presentation to the Soviets when they joined the Allies. It was called “The Sword of Stalingrad.” Aside from that, this volume brings our hero, Guy Crouchback, to the end of the war. After he escaped from Crete in an open boat, he was ultimately posted back to England, where...more
Patrick McCoy
Unconditional Surrender (aka The End of the Battle 1961) is the last volume of the Sword of Honor trilogy by Evelyn Waugh. It is also something of a return to form, since I found the second volume, Officers and Gentlemen, less compelling than the first, Men At War. In this volume, guy Crouchback has been declared too old to see action and is sent for special employment, only to have old security issues and a chance encounter with former Halberdier Ludovic, now a Major in the intelligence corps w...more
Brendan Hodge
The last of Waugh's Sword of Honor trilogy, dealing with World War II, this novel concludes plot threads relating to Guy Crouchback's marriage, as well as taking him to the partisan wars of soon-to-be communist Eastern Bloc Europe. Waugh's reaction to the war from a conservative British perspective is an important corrective to the "The Good War fought by The Greatest Generation" line of thinking that is so common in the US -- Waugh sees the moral necessities of the war clearly, but at the same...more
Part 3 of Sword of Honour.

Back to form (like part 1): a better balance (for my taste) between army and civilian storylines, but still plenty of eccentric characters, some shady secrets and lots of amusing bureaucratic inefficiency (the "intelligence" officers who consistently misinterpret Guy's connections and flag him as dubious are rather like a comic riff of Kafka), sprinkled with thoughts of faith, loyalty and doubt in terms of religion, relationships, nationality and class.

I feared the endi...more
A fantastic and highly quotable conclusion to a compelling series.
Favorite Quotes: "Those who take too keen an interest in the outside world, may one day find themselves locked outside their own gates."
"In my experience the more responsible posts in the army are largely filled by certifiable lunatics. They don't cause any more trouble than the sane ones."
"I wish those bastards would shoot better. I don't want to go home
Margaret1358 Joyce
This masterpiece of writing tells the story of the perceived glory and later acknowledged futility of war as experienced by the narrator.It details the inanities and insanities of war as played out in Yugoslavia and elsewhere during WW2. As always, Waugh is gripped with the moral choices faced by an individual of faith as he participates in the events of the larger society. Very meaty reading indeed.
In this final book of the Guy Crouchback trilogy Waugh eloquently portrays the dreariness of latter part of World War II as he ties things up very neatly. In addition to the sure, acid touch there arises an unexpected degree of kindliness, which is rather endearing.
Huw Evans
See Men at Arms,please
“In all the hosts of effigies that throng the aisles of Westminster Abbey one man only, and he a sailor, strikes a martial attitude. The men of the Middle Ages have sheathed their swords and composed their hands in prayer; the men of the Age of Reason have donned the toga. A Captain Montagu alone, in Flaxman’s posthumous status, firmly grips his hilt; and, because they had so many greater treasures to protect, the chapter left him to stand there throughout the war unencumbered by sand-bags, gazi...more
John Lucy
I quote others when I say, "A crowning achievement." A culmination of all the absurd war doings of Guy Crouchback and others. The third book of the "Sword of Honour Trilogy" wraps up what is perhaps the best trilogy I have ever read: the story depends on the complete set, you cannot fully appreciate any one of the books without reading the other two, and you absolutely must start with the first book. All the same characters carried to fruition from the start of WWII to the end. Sometimes the eve...more
So herewith ends Waugh’s strange and rather wonderful trilogy. This third volume is something of a remix, with a lot of echoes of the first. Guy spends a period again invalided out with an inglorious knee injury; Ludovic’s mental disintegration parallels Apthorpe’s in Men at Arms; Ritchie-Hook makes a brief valedictory reappearance, reprising his “human target” party trick from Men at Arms to tragic effect. We even get some kind of resolution to the situation between Guy and his tragically misma...more
I loved this book, the third of the Sword of Honor Trilogy. Waugh brilliantly brings all the wayward characters and issues together in this book and ties it all up in a hilariously funny way. As in his other two books in this series, Guy seems to have all go wrong that can go wrong, supports issues for the wrong reasons and yet wins in the end! A very fitting end to the trilogy with his hypnotically funny writing that makes me want to read paragraphs over instead of moving ahead. So many times I...more
Edmund Wilson has been quoted as stating that Waugh was a first-rate comic genius, but this book - like many of his others - makes it almost impossible to agree with that characterization. I was mainly struck with how casually the various officers shopped around for posts and then seemed to concern themselves mainly with accommodations and trying to find something to pass the time. No one seemed to have a position that was truly needed. It was almost as if it was enough each day if they talked f...more
At the end of the day, three full books was a bit much for this story. That said, this book has its high points and some of the characters are well-developed with complete stories.
The last of the Sword of Honour trilogy. Acknowledged at one point to be an afterthought, this book reads like it. Here, Crouchback finds redemption and ultimately peace by becoming an active instrument of God, rather than simply drifting through life turning the other cheek. Things get wrapped up, perhaps a little too neatly, for the haunted genius, Ludovic, and the hopelessly shallow Virginia.
When all is said and done, these books are more about Waugh's biting social commentary than about w...more
Unconditional Surrender/End of Battle, the third volume of the WW2 saga is a fitting end to the Sword of Honor trilogy. The humor has become somewhat rarer, and when it's there it's either way too dry (not that I'm complaining) or scathing and dark. This installment is lot more meandering than the first two, or at least that's the memory I have after reading the three volumes over 5 months. But I for me that's never a problem, in fact I relish it. Although for someone who's looking for an out an...more
Thoughts on completion of the Sword of Honor trilogy:

I don't know why, but I didn't expect too much from these novels, despite being a Waugh devotee. (I suspect its because somewhere in my mind I had confused An Officer and a Gentleman with Officers and Gentlemen.) I found them to be a near-perfect synthesis of the brilliant satire of early Waugh (A Handful of Dust, Decline and Fall, etc.) and the conservative morality and real pathos of Brideshead Revisited. Absolutely brilliant.
I've found that reading Evelyn Waugh is pretty disorienting in the beginning parts of his novels, and this one is no exception. He jumps in with the characters as if the reader has already encountered them before (and in some cases, it seems that some of his characters *do* appear in multiple novels). Despite this, The End of the Battle is very good and feels very English. This is neither here nor there, but it falls in line with all of the other wartime-England books that I've read recently, on...more
As much as I loved the first book in this trilogy, I found this final novel tedious, as it rehashes the meandering nature of army life, its bureaucracy, its indifference. More of the same, in other words. The book's story doesn't stand alone, which makes its tonal shift (from comic satire in the first to a bitter tragic sensibility in this one) awkward. Only at the end does it come close to successfully managing the transition, but by then I was just excited to get to the end of it.
i thought that this was a melancholy little book about disappointment and the chaos and meaningless of WW11 . this is not about heroics and the Battle of Britain but about confusion , failure and doing the best you can . being by evelyn waugh there is a dose of catholicsism but not too much . thoroughly unsentimental and small in ambition but very sad .
Cristina Montes
It's hard not to sympathize with Crouchback in the "Sword of Honor" trilogy ("Men at Arms","Officers and Gentlemen" "The End of the Battle"). I sympathize with him especially when all his efforts to do good turn out flawed, and I can relate with his struggle to uphold the traditional values he believes in amidst a world gone awry in WWII.

"...things...turned out very conveniently for Guy." I am glad they did, because the war didn't quite pan out the way he expected it to. And I guess that was one of the points of the story--war is not glory and anyone who tells you it is, is trying to sell you something.
The 3rd book of his WWII trilogy. The most solemn and interesting of the three. The only contrivance was how the same small set of characters continue to interact with each other all through the widespread war scene. But still, really good and memorable.
See previous book (Officers and Gentleman). Trilogy wraps up, a satisfying read but could have been better had Waugh focused on one of the aspects.

Some of the satire was sad, though, because from today's viewpoint it's too close to truth.
Great text; want to read the preceding two volumes in the trilogy now; very neat description of life in London during WWII, and the bureaucracy of a military state.
Serjeant Wildgoose
A dark and ultimately frustrating conclusion to the Sword of Honour trilogy. Many of the characters met their justified ends - but what happened to ...?
The final book in the Sword of Honour trilogy. The strongest in the series, I think. The horrifying and the mundane mix, as do humor and heavy sadness.
I would have given it four stars, but there was a certain presence of mature content in some scenes that gave some uneasiness.
Best of the trilogy, but it would be a good idea to read them all in order.
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Evelyn Waugh's father Arthur was a noted editor and publisher. His only sibling Alec also became a writer of note. In fact, his book “The Loom of Youth” (1917) a novel about his old boarding school Sherborne caused Evelyn to be expelled from there and placed at Lancing College. He said of his time there, “…the whole of English education when I was brought up was to produce prose writers; it was al...more
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