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Her Privates We

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  897 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
First published in 1930, 'Her Privates We' is the great book of World War I written from the ordinary soldier's point of view.

Called the "book of books" by Lawrence of Arabia, 'Her Privates We' is an expressionist classic that magnificently captures the horror of war.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Serpent's Tail (first published 1929)
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Warwick
Partly because of contemporary censorship, and partly because so many of the writers of the time were well-educated, middle-class boys, there is sometimes a tendency to imagine everyone from the First World War speaking in cut-glass Eton English. ‘Ready to give the Boche a damn good thrashing, Blodger?’ ‘Lumme, I should hope so old man,’ and so on. I mean you know logically that people still swore and cursed in the 1910s, but it's hard to take it on board instinctively when there's so little rec ...more
Paul
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-one
4.5 stars
Manning was born in Australia to an Irish Catholic family. He moved to England in 1898 at the age of sixteen with the Rev Arthur Galton (secretary to the Governor of New South Wales), with whom he had formed a close friendship. They had similar literary interests and tastes and Manning lived with Galton until his death in 1921. Galton became vicar of Edenham in Lincolnshire in 1898. Manning was essentially a man of letters and moved in literary circles, being friends with Beerbohm, Roth
...more
Chrissie
I struggled through this book. At the halfway mark, I was about to dump it. Yet on completion, I had to admit two things. It does accurately depict war, at least the First World War, and those aspects of the book which I had disliked do make sense when you understand how the book ends. (view spoiler) ...more
Edward
Introduction
Author's Prefatory Note (1929)


--The Middle Parts of Fortune: Somme and Ancre, 1916
Mike Robbins
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Frederic Manning is an oddly elusive figure. Born in Australia in 1882, he migrated to England as a teenager. A friend, at various times, of Ezra Pound, Richard Aldington, T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats and T. E. Lawrence, he was regarded by many contemporaries as a fine writer, and his literary ambition was considerable. But he was affected throughout his life by a weak chest. Also, he drank. In the end he was really only ever known for one book, and little else that he wrote is much read today.

That o
...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
From the back cover of this edition: "The finest and noblest book of men in war that I have ever read. I read it over once each year to remember how things really were so that I will never lie to myself nor to anyone else about them." - Ernest Hemingway

I have a "thing" to read about World War One. This was different than All Quiet on the Western Front and I think not as good. It was less emotional, for one thing. Remarque writes more about the fighting itself and how it scars the individual psyc
...more
Lisa
I was in two minds about how to classify the authorship of this book. Wikipedia tells me that Frederic Manning (1882-1935) was an Australian poet and novelist, but in the introduction to Frederic Manning’s The Middle Parts of Fortune Simon Caterson tells us that Nettie Palmer rued that Australia could not really claim him. This was presumably because although he was born and educated in Sydney, Manning settled permanently in the UK in 1903 when he was 21, enlisted with British forces in WW1 and ...more
Barksdale Penick
I really enjoyed this novel set in the trenches in World War I. It provides a much more balanced view of the officer class in the British army than I have ususally read--they are often portrayed as witless elites who dined on fine food and wine while sending their troops off to certain death. The officers have some of that, and our hero, an intelligent enlisted man, certainly has moments of anger at his superiors, but often he recognizes the pressures on them and the care they take in leading th ...more
John
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To a large extent, the popular British memory of the First World War is shaped by it's literature; the poems of Wilfred Owen, plays, notably Journey's End by R. C. Sherriff, and memoirs cum novels by the likes of Edmund Blunden, Robert Graves, and Richard Aldington.

While these are all valuable documents, written as they were by men who served, there is a danger that they present an unrepresentative picture of life in the British army on the Western Front. Blunden, Graves, and Aldington, as well
...more
Charlotte
Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Hemingway stated that this book was, "The finest and noblest book of men in war" - although I have never been too enthusiastic about Hemingway, this really is a great piece of text. There is a lot of waiting around and little action.
Juli Rahel
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Born in Australia in 1882, Manning moved to England in 1898 with a close friend and finally settled there in 1903. He started a career of writing reviews and independent fictional work here and there, becoming friends with the likes of Ezra Pound and Richard Aldington. He enlisted in 1915 and became Private 19022, which he used as a pseudonym later to publish Her Privates We. He was sent to the Battle of the Somme, the experience of which he recounts in his novel. Manning wasn't a healthy man an ...more
Sara
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every so often a book comes along that defines a generation in a certain time and place. This is just one of those books. Her Privates We tells the story of the ordinary men fighting for Britain in the trenches at Somme in the summer and fall of 1916. The language and events described are raw and unflinching. They are not the idealized, separate world of the officer corp, but the war as it was, filled with filth and muck, anger and apathy.

We are told this story through the third person narrativ
...more
Daniel
Feb 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reading fictional accounts of war and violence, I have often come across the sentiment that soldiers will spend most of their time waiting for a combat situation that lasts minutes, if not seconds. Frederic Manning's semi-fictional - the place and event are fact; the characters, fiction - account of British soldiers moving from one front to another during the early stages of World War I confirms this observation. The majority of the book is about the men who fought in World War I and what their ...more
Text Publishing
‘The finest and noblest book of men in war that I have ever read. I read it over once each year to remember how things really were so that I will never lie to myself nor to anyone else about them.’
Ernest Hemingway

‘A classic of enduring validity. I am glad he was an Australian, for this is a profoundly democratic book. I know of no story of the first world war which is so effectively written, not only from the ranks, but from the point of view of the ranks it remains, with Richard Mahony, almost
...more
Steve Shilstone
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How does the average bloke face the fate of being a tiny cog in a mindless war machine?
Stuart
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war
This was another of the books I was led to by reading the biography of Lawrence of Arabia. Both he and Robert Graves rated it a classic of World War 1 literature. It was indeed very good. It was not a long book (250 pages or so), but it was tightly packed with introspective thoughts about what it was to be a soldier in WW1. (The author had of course been one). It very much brought out the "hurry up and wait" that seems to be the soldier's lot. And unlike many memoirs of the 1st War, it focused o ...more
Michael
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is singularly the finest novel I've read concerning the lives of combatants in WWI. Fighting or "going over the top" make up only a small portion of the narrative which deals primarily the minds of the common soldier; how they support one another; how the cope with inner and outer hardships; and often, how they find solace in one another and through simple events. The subtlety and sensitivity which Manning employs in dealing with the characters is remarkable. There are no stereotypes among ...more
Simon
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-world-war
The best book I've read written by someone who was in the trenches. Superb in understanding, in character development, in revealing what life was like on The Somme both in battle and between "shows". The central character and his comrades meant as much to me as any I have read of in either factual or fictional accounts (though where the truth lies is a case for doctrinal study.) My grandfather was there. I never met him. Never knew much of him until standing before a memorial stone in his local ...more
Sophie
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1001-books
Set in the trenches during WWI, I would never have read this book had it not been on the 1001 Books list. I'm really glad I did as it was surprisingly moving. There is hardly any plot to the book and very little action or actual fighting - the soldiers are mostly moving from one French village to another, enduring constant mud, filthy conditions, bad food and cold. And lice - oh the lice parts were revolting, the idea of being infested with lice and unable to do anything about it is truly ghastl ...more
Deirdre Flynn
Portrayed very well the tedium of a soldier's life, the petty squabbling between officers, and the commitment to not imagine the future, but the problem with that is that it made the book tedious. The author did do a good job of capturing the vernacular of the common soldier, and I like the description of how in battle the differences between extremities of feelings are collapsed such that hope and despair, and determination and terror exist simultaneously. But mostly I found it meandering and s ...more
sslyb
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uk, kindle, ww-i
Started kind of slow. I put it down a few times. By the time I'd finished I liked it better than All Quiet on the Western Front.
Senna Black
This book was originally published in limited release in 1929, then as an expurgated edition entitled "The Middle Parts of Fortune" in 1930. The unexpurgated version was not widely available until 1977. Commonly considered one of the best novels based on experiences of WWI, with fans such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound and T. E. Lawrence. Reminiscent of "All Quiet on the Western Front" and Siegfried Sassoon’s Sherston Trilogy in that it centres on Richard Bourne, a character who serves mostly a ...more
Douglas Debner
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.8 stars really.
I followed a train of thought via the internet a few weeks back and ended up reading about the Ottoman Empire in WWI and how it was one of four empires toppled by the war. I had never heard that before and it got me thinking about how little I knew about WWI. So, I went to my library and did a search. Along with histories of the war, Middle Parts of Fortune came up as a classic piece of WWI fiction, prized in part because of its realistic portrayal of the war from a soldier’s p
...more
Sharon Albanese
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Book Club, for giving me this amazing, mesmerising, unforgettable book I would never have otherwise read. Apparently this book has been lauded as a classic by notables such as TS Eliot, and now I know why. The book builds relationships, quietly draws the reader in, makes us care about these people in these extraordinary circumstances, then strikes. The horrors of war are always present, but lurking in the background. In the meantime the soldiers simply get on with their lives. The cour ...more
Roger Brunyate
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ww1
The most authentic WW1 novel, not necessarily the best

Frederick Manning was born in Australia in 1882, son of the Mayor of Sydney. In 1898, however, he moved to England with the clergyman who had become his mentor, and remained there for most of the rest of his life. Although not physically strong, and at first rejected, he persisted in volunteering for the army. He finally joined up in late 1915, serving on the Somme and Ancre, first as a private and later, despite his own wishes, as a not-very
...more
brook
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gripping and personal

Read once, im going to immediately start over for a second go. Could have been set in Vietnam as easily as France. Real, close, and vital.
Suz
This book was originally published in limited release in 1929, then as an expurgated edition entitled "The Middle Parts of Fortune" in 1930. The unexpurgated version was not widely available until 1977. Commonly considered one of the best novels based on experiences of WWI, with fans such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound and T. E. Lawrence. Reminiscent of "All Quiet on the Western Front" and Siegfried Sassoon’s Sherston Trilogy in that it centres on Richard Bourne, a character who serves mostly a ...more
Jen
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full review on my blog with photos but highly recommended book!

http://thereadersroom.org/2015/03/26/...



Her Privates We refers to the common soldiers who fought during World War I. The novel is the fictionalized account of the author’s own experiences as a soldier. It is a extraordinary account of the lives of foot soldiers that is told with the elegance and emotionally-evocative brilliance that only the best authors can achieve.

Manning first published this book under the title, The Middle Part
...more
David
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not read much World War I fiction, somehow avoiding All Quiet on the Western Front during high school (I imagine I have a doppelganger that never read Pride and Prejudice), but I thought this was utterly brilliant and will be looking for other novels written out of wartime experiences to compare.

It is the dialogue that stands out in this roman a clef, with Bourne as the central character representing Manning. An Australian who migrated to Britain as a young man he clearly had an ear for t
...more
Tapio Juutinen
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sommen rintamalle kesällä 1916 sijoittuva Manningin romaani ei kaunistele sotaa vaan esittelee sen kaikessa raakuudessaan, toisaalta pitkäveteisyydessään ja sattumanvaraisuudessaan.

Kuvaus keskittyy suurelta osin linjojen taakse, lopun varsinaista juoksuhautasotaa lukuun ottamatta. Sotamiehille "onnetar on lutka", elämä arpapeliä ja esimiehet ja kotirintama kaukana juoksuhaudoista.

Manning ei noussut allekirjoittaneelle ehkä samanlaiseksi ikoniseksi kirjaksi kuin Remarquen teos saksalaisnäkökulmas
...more
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Manning was born in 1882 in Sydney, Australia, and whose father was a one-time mayor. Educated privately, he was thereafter sent to England to complete his studies.

In the immediate pre-war years Manning established a reputation as a minor poet and critic among a small circle of intimates.

With the outbreak of war in August 1914 Manning enlisted as a Private with the 7th Battalion King's Shropshire
...more
More about Frederic Manning...

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“Death, of course, like chastity, admits of no degree; a man is dead or not dead, and a man is just as dead by one means as by another; but it is infinitely more horrible and revolting to see a man shattered and eviscerated, than to see him shot. And one sees such things; and one suffers vicariously, with the inalienable sympathy of man for man. One forgets quickly. The mind is averted as well as the eyes. It reassures itself after that first despairing cry: "It is I!"

"No, it is not I. I shall not be like that."

And one moves on, leaving the mauled and bloody thing behind: gambling, in fact, on that implicit assurance each one of us has of his own immortality. One forgets, but he will remember again later, if only in his sleep.”
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“On fortune's cap we are not the very button ...Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favours?...Faith, her privates we.   SHAKESPEARE” 0 likes
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