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3.61  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  9 reviews

A war-poem both historic and frighteningly topical, Assurances begins in the 1950s during a period of vigilance and dread in the middle of the Cold War: the long stand-off between nuclear powers, where the only defence was the threat of mutually assured destruction.

Using a mix of versed and unversed passages, Mo
Paperback, 48 pages
Published June 7th 2018 by Jonathan Cape
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  44 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
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Taking war poetry and story-telling to a new level, Assurances is a single long poem with a lovely mixture of prose and inspired by real-life facts about the author's father's career. A good, quick read. Some of the text came across a little complex and I had to go back and re-read some passages to try and help break down the details a little bit more!
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, library, poetry
I thought this was extraordinary, and totally unexpected. I picked it up from the library because of its Costa win and the resulting buzz around it, and it didn’t disappoint. Assurances is a single long poem, switching between multiple styles and metre, that imagines the Cold War tactic of mutually assured destruction from the perspectives of past and present. It takes us into the planes and bunkers of bomber command; into the lives of people who are aware of the danger or totally ignorant of it ...more
War poetry has normally been set on the battlefield, the place where war and death were much more personal, tangible and raw. What Morgan has done here is to consider the position of those that were the hands-on people looking after the nuclear deterrent and considered how they felt about their role. For this, he has borrowed heavily from his father’s experience in the R. A. F. Airborne Nuclear Deterrent.

It is a long poem too, taking up the entire book, but he mixes prose and stanza to move betw
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
I can see where the author was going with this and it was a really clever idea to show the tension of the Cold War and for those who spent their time watching for threats but at times this was so dull.
To be honest if I hadn't read the blurb it wouldn't have automatically been apparent from the text it WAS all about a nuclear threat.
Could be that poetry is just not my thing, this has its good points but overall it just wasn't for me, it felt it was trying too hard to be "deep" and actually had ma
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I'm a big fan of J.O. Morgan's work, particularly his absorbing and atmospheric book-length poems, generally set in a more rural scene than this book is. Would he be able to create this immersive ambiance with a poem on the unlikely subject of 1950s nuclear deterrence? A resounding "yes".

Right from the opening staccato lines, what is hinted at and left unsaid is as frightening as what is stated.

"Assurances" itself is an interesting word, intending to give confidence but tinged with some duplici
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Book length only if 48 pages maketh a book, otherwise just a long poem, which of course is an accomplishment. Skillfully written and pleasing to read. The interest is largely in its fastidious descriptions and the somewhat disturbing realization that a quiet and only moderately efficient military bureaucracy calmly anticipates our annihilation. It is a book well worth reading but once will be enough for me.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-2018
Reading Forward 2018 Shortlist. Compelling book-length exploration of the everyday atomic.
Claire O'Sullivan
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
3.5 stars. I find poetry difficult to rate as I read so little of it . Winner of the Costa poetry category which is why I read this.
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Jan 19, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019, book-in-a-day
I’m trying to read the Costa Book Award category winners before the overall winner is announced. This was an interesting take on poetry but hard going in places and I’m not sure I understood all of it. I wish I did.
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