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Undertones of War (Penguin Modern Classics)…
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Undertones of War (Penguin Modern Classics) by Blunden, Edmund (2000)… (2000. Auflage)

von Edmund Blunden (Autor)

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“I took my road with no little pride of fear; one morning I feared very sharply, as I saw what looked like a rising shroud over a wooden cross in the clustering mist. Horror! But on a closer study I realized that the apparition was only a flannel gas helmet. . . . What an age since 1914!” In Undertones of War, one of the finest autobiographies to come out of World War I, the acclaimed poet Edmund Blunden records his devastating experiences in combat. After enlisting at the age of twenty, he took part in the disastrous battles at the Somme, Ypres, and Passchendaele, describing them as “murder, not only to the troops but to their singing faiths and hopes.” All the horrors of trench warfare, all the absurdity and feeble attempts to make sense of the fighting, all the strangeness of observing war as a writer—of being simultaneously soldier and poet—pervade Blunden’s memoir. In steely-eyed prose as richly allusive as any poetry, he tells of the endurance and despair found among the men of his battalion, including the harrowing acts of bravery that won him the Military Cross. Now back in print for American readers, the volume includes a selection of Blunden’s war poems that unflinchingly juxtapose death in the trenches with the beauty of Flanders’s fields. Undertones of War deserves a place on anyone’s bookshelf between Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry and Robert Graves’s Goodbye to All That.… (mehr)
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Titel:Undertones of War (Penguin Modern Classics) by Blunden, Edmund (2000) Paperback
Autoren:Edmund Blunden (Autor)
Info:Penguin Classics (2000)
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Undertones of War von Edmund Blunden

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I am very thankful to have reached the end of this. I am studying it for my OU course and would otherwise never have chosen to read it. I appreciated the character of the narrator and his perspective on war in the trenches, but found it slow going, as I had to look up the meaning of so many specialist WW1 and military terms. It was also repetitive and relentless (obviously not to be compared with actually having to live through it) and although I learnt a lot from reading it, it wasn't really an enjoyable experience. ( )
  pgchuis | Sep 14, 2021 |
This is a war memoir written by a man with an eye to the natural world. He views the landscape with the eye of someone who can see its potential and how it is ruined and abused causes him almost as much pain as the death of those around him. At times this focus on the natural means that the impact of the war is barely noticeable. Blunden participated in some of the major battles of WW1, and these are described in a very sparse, understated way. At times the horror creeps up on you as it is certainly not overt in the style of writing he adopts. In the introduction it is noted that this can be difficult for the later reader, in that this was almost written with those who were there in mind, not for posterity. We have not experienced anything like what these men went through, and so the gulf between our imagination and their reality is hard to bridge.
It feels wrong to say I enjoyed this based on the subject matter, however I certainly enjoyed his style of observational writing. ( )
  Helenliz | Sep 9, 2018 |
Undertones of War is one of the best known books to emerge from the First World War. Perhaps this is because [a:Blunden|31139|Edmund Blunden|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1335026460p2/31139.jpg] beat [a:Graves|3012988|Robert Graves|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1251049332p2/3012988.jpg] and [a:Remarque|4116|Erich Maria Remarque|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1207351165p2/4116.jpg] to the punch by a year. It is difficult to believe that the exalted position of this rambling, overly fastidious book, owes much to its merits. You come away from this book with little idea of what the war was actually like.

In Britain much of what is generally believed about the First World War comes from the poems, plays, novels, and memoirs it produced (the latter categories indistinguishable in some cases). Particularly, it is from these, and the horribly self-serving [b:War Memoirs|14628906|War Memoirs; Volume I, Part 1|David Lloyd George|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347520561s/14628906.jpg|20273876] of [a:Lloyd George|1278911|David Lloyd George|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/m_50x66-82093808bca726cb3249a493fbd3bd0f.png], that the Lions Led by Donkeys interpretation finds its primary evidence.

But while there is much griping about particular regimental officers, there is little of that on display here. There are some harsh words about Third Ypres and it is true that the battle took a heavy toll on British morale. But was Blunden, when writing this criticism, aware of the mutinous state of the French Army? Of the advanced state of collapse of the Russian Army? Of the fact that the battle was little less of an ordeal for its German combatants?

It also worth noting that, like Graves's much superior book, Undertones of War cuts off well before the end of the war - in early 1918. While the experiences of the Somme and Third Ypres are covered at length, the action of 1918 - when the Allied armies won the war - is completely missing. This goes a long way towards explaining why these books give the impression of futility. There is no similar treatment in literature of the battle of Amiens. The men who were there at the war's end in 1918 wrote no memoirs or novels.

Blunden's book is of interest for the student of World War One but, like all these books, their personal focus should always be balanced with a strategic overview. ( )
  JohnPhelan | Oct 4, 2016 |
Of the three classic memoirs of World War 1 by British writers, Blunden's was the most impressionistic, and yet at the same time he describes the most forceful and particular images of the horrors of war. His language and eye are most often pastoral: although he writes that he cannot ride a horse well, he observes the transport mules and horses lined up in life and death several times and writes with equal empathy about the massacres of animals and humans. This memoir has left a deep impression of the horror of trench warfare with me. ( )
  nmele | Apr 11, 2016 |
One of the soldier-poets along with Sassoon, Graves, Brooke and Jones. He fought hard and won the Military Cross. He came out of the war with both physical and mental wounds. He did, however, end up living a full life.
  bowlees | Mar 10, 2016 |
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“I took my road with no little pride of fear; one morning I feared very sharply, as I saw what looked like a rising shroud over a wooden cross in the clustering mist. Horror! But on a closer study I realized that the apparition was only a flannel gas helmet. . . . What an age since 1914!” In Undertones of War, one of the finest autobiographies to come out of World War I, the acclaimed poet Edmund Blunden records his devastating experiences in combat. After enlisting at the age of twenty, he took part in the disastrous battles at the Somme, Ypres, and Passchendaele, describing them as “murder, not only to the troops but to their singing faiths and hopes.” All the horrors of trench warfare, all the absurdity and feeble attempts to make sense of the fighting, all the strangeness of observing war as a writer—of being simultaneously soldier and poet—pervade Blunden’s memoir. In steely-eyed prose as richly allusive as any poetry, he tells of the endurance and despair found among the men of his battalion, including the harrowing acts of bravery that won him the Military Cross. Now back in print for American readers, the volume includes a selection of Blunden’s war poems that unflinchingly juxtapose death in the trenches with the beauty of Flanders’s fields. Undertones of War deserves a place on anyone’s bookshelf between Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry and Robert Graves’s Goodbye to All That.

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