Marten's Reviews > Officers and Gentlemen

Officers and Gentlemen by Evelyn Waugh
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Jan 09, 14

bookshelves: read-for-fun, read-for-teaching, satire
Read from December 03 to 15, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by one of my favorite authors. This book did not disappoint. Waugh's satirical views of the army and culture are as sharp as ever in this story. His ability to craft phrases is so special that I want to read paragraphs over instead of moving on in the book. In this story, the protagonist is, like many of Waugh's other protagonists, somewhat woeful, pathetic and unlike the traditional hero of a story in other books. Guy wants desperately to alter his failed life so far by joining the army at the start of the war to be able to say he was someone. He has lost his family estate, his wife and his direction in life. Though older than most, he haplessly finds a way into an ancient line of fighting men (who are more concerned with the image of fighting men than actually fighting) and spends the first part of the war training and moving around England with his regiment awaiting orders to engage in the war. But every time an order comes through, something goes wrong and the Halbediers are put back on hold.

Other characters are enormously funny and pathetic, yet Guy (called uncle by his mates because he is older) is the most pathetic of all. This is a wonderfully humorous story about a serious time. Waugh is able to play with this humor and not totally offend.
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Reading Progress

12/03 marked as: currently-reading
12/03 page 181
51.0% "Poor Guy! Currently in Egypt and still cannot find the war he so desperately wants to join. Waugh's ability to have all that could go wrong go wrong is uproarious."
12/06 page 278
78.0% "My goodness, Waugh can find new things and ridiculous things in a war. This reminds me of reading Going Solo by Roald Dahl and the sense in the early stages of WW2 for England that whatever could go wrong would go wrong."
01/09 marked as: read

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