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Memoirs of an Infantry Officer [Paperback]

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Item description for Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon...

An irreverent look at British military leaders during WW1, written by the Hawthornden-Prize winning author.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.8" Width: 5" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 1930
Publisher   Simon Publications
ISBN  1931313814  
ISBN13  9781931313810  

Availability  0 units.

More About Siegfried Sassoon

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) was a poet and novelist whose novels include the James Tait Black Award-winning Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man. He is recognized as one of the great poets of World War I and one of the war's most influential opponents.

Paul Fussell (1925-2012) was a writer, editor, and historian whose experiences in World War II led to his writing the award-winning classic The Great War and Modern Memory. He was also the editor of the collection Sassoon's Long Journey.

Siegfried Sassoon was born in 1886 and died in 1967.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Military > General
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Biographies
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > War

Reviews - What do customers think about Memoirs of an Infantry Officer?

Truth Through the Veil of Fiction  Apr 7, 2008
While perhaps best known for his poetry written during WWI, Siegfried Sassoon was a very talented wordsmith in general, a trait that is demonstrated in his second semi-fictionalized autobiography, "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer". Sassoon chose to fictionalize his accounts of his life, an odd technique that allows him to distance himself from these experiences as he intimately describes the raw emotion and response behind them. In his three memoirs he is George Sherston, a thinly veiled version of himself, who thinnly veils the real-life characters he encountered during these times.

Readers are automatically flung into Sassoon's war experience, from the disjointed and fantastical training, to the brutal reality of life in the trenches. Sassoon describes these experiences in vivid detail, the sheer misery of trench warfare, the almost callous attitude toward the dead on both sides, and the surreal life led by those back home. Sassoon, nicknamed "Mad Jack" for his stubborness and seemingly sheer lunacy at times, was awfully lucky during his battle campaigns. He was wounded a few times, always sent back home to England to recuperate, and almost happy to return to the war.

However, after one session as an invalid, Sassoon begins to recognize that the war may not be all it's cracked up to be, that those in power are not telling the truth about their war aims, and that he may just be a lowly pawn in a game he doesn't want to play. Towards the end of his narrative, Sassoon tells of his decision to speak out against the war, even if it meant being court martialed. This act, filtered with courage and fear, is achingly portrayed as an act both necessary and questionable: as Sassoon places himself in danger, he questions his true beliefs in the matter. This account ends just as Sassoon enters the hospital in Scotland, avoiding court martial with a diagnosis of shell shock, 'lucky' as usual.

"Memoirs of an Infantry Officer" is a vividly descriptive account of life in the trenches during WWI. Sassoon is a gifted storyteller, who can make even the direst settings come to life. He offers a unique insight into the soldier poets who first questioned whether or not war was such a noble and glorious pursuit and if the sacrifice of lives was worth the price in the end. While a little slow at times, the last quarter of the narrative which details Sassoon's questioning of the war, is a brilliantly written firsthand look at how a too little celebrated writer finally found his voice.
Classic Tale of Educated English Life Smashed into Disillusion of WWI  Apr 9, 2006
Continuing tale of the Cambridge-educated English Officer living the hell of warfare on the Western Front: replete with adoring batman, blustering colonel Blimps, out of control colonials (Australians and Canadians), journeys to England on home leave to meet misinformed civilians. Sasson has a style that waxes between light and lyrical, cynical and dark and starkly realistic. It is reminiscent of Graves but less dark than Blunden.

This is a tale of the human mind (an upper crust mind) that makes the journey from old world to that of the lost generation -- but Sassoon never loses himself. It shows that the mind-set was already there capable of dissecting and throwing away the old world view tradition. With capable honesty Sassoon relates the contradictions in life, army and mind set of the pre-war generation. He still takes advantage of the liesure of the educated class; his batman pours his tea, he still sees the colonials as slightly quaint and backwards (especially the Australians), still finds refuge among his educated Cambridge intellectuals -- this is no tale of class struggle.

This book can read as part of his trilogy lifestyle or on its own. It has many haunting vignettes and is perhaps one of the top 5 WWI memoirs. Highly recommended.
Sassoons's great work  Sep 6, 2005
Terrific book that sounded a bit autobiographical. Sassoon, of course, was a war hero on the battle of the Somme, decorated twice for bravery.

The book reads lyrically and is convey's nicely the daily life of soldiers moving back and forth from the front fighting trenches to the rear area of the battle field. He also does a great job portraying the strangeness and inner conflict of being back in British society (while recovering from illness) with people who know nothing of the war or its cost to the participants.

A Brit's version of "All Quiet ..."
Vivid account life at the front line during WW1.  May 13, 2003
Siegfried Sassons' "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer" is a first-hand account of life at the front line during World War 1. This is not a just a historical document or diary however. Sassoon writes via an alter-ego called George. In real life, Sassoon was an infantry officer who fought at the front, but eventually grew suspicious of the reasons for the continuation of World War 1, and as such became a dissenter. This book may be fiction, but it is based on fact and it gives an impressive account of what life must have been like in those trenches, nearly a hundred years ago. Sassoon's incredible ability with words paints a much more vivid picture than any war movie will ever provide.

George was a middle-class officer who had the luxury of a university education and was an avid reader of classic English literature. He juxtaposes the themes and ideas in this romantic poetry with the realities of life at the front to great effect. Although a tad repetitive in it's ideas (perhaps to get the point across clearly), this book is rewarding and still relevant this whole century later. As one character in the book says, "In war-time the word patriotism means suppression of truth" .

Memoir in the tradition of Graves and Orwell  Aug 30, 2002
Siegfreid Sassoon's wonderful war memoir is thinly disguised as the story of George Sherston. Based solely on Sassoon's life in the trenches of WWI, it recounts the horror and scale of carnage that occurred. More importantly it shows the emotionally scars that the survivors carried with them as a result of exposure.

Sherston (Sassoon) was a rather spoiled and pampered young upper class Englishman. The war changed all that. Confronted with death, destruction and idiotic leadership from the High Command you sense the inner turmoil of Sherston.

Relieved when he is not involved with the fighting he is driven by guilt over the loss of the soldiers in his battalion. Consequently when his platoon is on the line he takes great risks in reconaissance of the German positions.

The effects of non-stop total war, stupid leadership and the complete contrast between England and the trenches (only a few hundred miles apart) is staggering to Sassoon. Sassoon becomes anti-war and considers becoming an objector, but his obvious connection to his comrades and loyalty to them wins out in the end. He hates the war but won't abandon his comrades in the field.

This is a great war memoir written by a poet who survived and was changed for life by his experiences in it.


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