Death of a Hero

Death of a Hero Epub ´ Death of ePUB Ù


Death of a Hero [Reading] ➿ Death of a Hero By Richard Aldington – Polishdarling.co.uk First published in , Death of a Hero was described by its author as both a jazz novel and a memorial to a generation The hero is George Winterbourne Leaving the Edwardian gloom of his embattled parent First published in , Death of a Hero was described by its author as both a jazz novel and a memorial to Death of ePUB Ù a generation The hero is George Winterbourne Leaving the Edwardian gloom of his embattled parents behind him, George escapes to Soho, which buzzes, on the eve of war, with talk of politics, pacifism and free love He paints, he marries, he takes a mistress the perfect hero of his time, whose destiny like all those of that lost generation is the bloody nightmare of the trenches.

    Death of a Hero Epub ´ Death of ePUB Ù hero of his time, whose destiny like all those of that lost generation is the bloody nightmare of the trenches."/>
  • Paperback
  • 376 pages
  • Death of a Hero
  • Richard Aldington
  • English
  • 18 September 2017
  • 0701206047

About the Author: Richard Aldington

Edward Godfree Aldington was an English writer and poet See.



10 thoughts on “Death of a Hero

  1. Kinga Kinga says:

    I initially bought this book when I realised what a big trauma WWI was for the Brits and wanted to learnabout it Like most people in the world, I learnt history at school, and it was the usual, jingoistic and egocentric version of it that schoolchildren all over the world are subjected to In Poland, WWI is glossed over but for its one, most important aspect, and that is the return of Polish independence For us, of course it is all about WWII Now that I have read Death of a Hero I can I initially bought this book when I realised what a big trauma WWI was for the Brits and wanted to learnabout it Like most people in the world, I learnt history at school, and it was the usual, jingoistic and egocentric version of it that schoolchildren all over the world are subjected to In Poland, WWI is glossed over but for its one, most important aspect, and that is the return of Polish independence For us, of course it is all about WWII Now that I have read Death of a Hero I can t believe this country seems to have completely forgotten the unruly, modernist gem Or perhaps, I can believe it, because Aldington doesn t have anything positive to say about his motherland This book is a precocious and observant child who doesn t quite know what it wants to be when it grows up but The author himself acknowledges that in the preface where he saysThis book is not the work of a professional novelist It is, apparently, not a novel at all Certain conventions of form and method in the novel have been erected, I gather, into immutable laws, and are looked upon with quite superstitious reverence They are entirely disregarded here To me the excuse for the novel is that one can do any damn thing one pleases And so he does Even though it seems like the novel has a beginning, middle and end, it really feels like three different novels carelessly stitched together that differ in style and tone The third person narrator, who claims to be our hero s friend, every now and then turns omniscient where it suits him and spends the middle part of the book on a soapbox informing us of his various opinions about art, sex and the society Finally, Aldington includes the main spoiler in the very title of the book, as well as its prologue Yes, the main character, George Winterbourne, dies It s not so much the war that kills him but the idea of peace and his return to the so called normal life After announcing Winterbourne s death, the book goes back in time to focus on his parents and grandparents in a sardonic take on the British society It s a merciless and very funny caricature of the aspiring British middle class The reader might question what Winterbourne s grandparents grotesque marriage had to do with the World War I, but I think the author wanted to do away with this dreamy notion that WWI somehow ended some age of innocence in Britain That innocence was never there It s not until the last part of the book where we finally get to the war and the life in the trenches It s all pathos and bathos, and a pointless horror that WWI was As powerful as I expected

  2. Douglas Douglas says:

    This book initially came into my hands when I was fifteen years old, and found, by chance, the first unexpurgated edition in a bookstore in Paris For decades it was censored in England on account of the sheer venom that Aldington brought to his depiction of pre World War One British society, and of the war itself as conducted by the British High Command The novel tells the story of George Winterbourne as in Winter born , a young modernist British painter who before the war lives marginally in This book initially came into my hands when I was fifteen years old, and found, by chance, the first unexpurgated edition in a bookstore in Paris For decades it was censored in England on account of the sheer venom that Aldington brought to his depiction of pre World War One British society, and of the war itself as conducted by the British High Command The novel tells the story of George Winterbourne as in Winter born , a young modernist British painter who before the war lives marginally in London, focused mainly on his art, and has relationships with two young women Elizabeth who becomes his wife and Fanny who doesn t, but with whom he continues his liaison With the coming of war, he on principle joins up as an enlisted man, though his education would entitle him to become an officer Eventually, the sheer attrition rate of officers obliges him to become one The novel graphically and eloquently depicts both the hypocrisies of British pre War society, and the horrors and follies of the War itself While it was censored in Britain, it became very popular in the Soviet Union ironically, given that Aldington considered himself an anti communist.As I was living in France at the time, this bookthan any other I can think of helped me to get a sense of the extremity of horror and societal upheaval that lay behind the vast and silent cemeteries of Verdun, the Somme, and Ypres, and that had helped shape the twentieth century

  3. Dan Dan says:

    A largely autobiographical novel about a British soldier, George Winterbourne, and his experiences in WW1 as an infantryman and then an officer The novel is broken into thirds The first part is about George s parents and his own childhood before the war at the beginning of the 20th century The Winterbourne s are faux nobility and an odd family with a manipulative mother In the middle of the novel we see George strike out on his own to London as an author and then marry a young woman named El A largely autobiographical novel about a British soldier, George Winterbourne, and his experiences in WW1 as an infantryman and then an officer The novel is broken into thirds The first part is about George s parents and his own childhood before the war at the beginning of the 20th century The Winterbourne s are faux nobility and an odd family with a manipulative mother In the middle of the novel we see George strike out on his own to London as an author and then marry a young woman named Elizabeth George and Elizabeth end up in an open marriage and each take different lovers that makes for some unique situations The final third of the novel addresses George s experiences while fighting on the front lines for the British He starts as infantryman and serves seven months in France, then is sent home to officer s school where he returns six months later This part of the novel is very vivid and shocking much like All s Quiet on the Western Front The writing style used by Aldington is a mix of beautifully poetic paragraphs interspersed with realism and its shocking descriptions of trench warfare At times there is very choppy dialogue Aldington was a poet so this may explain the lack of continuity between sentences and his reluctance to use many conjunctions to extend sentences.So the novel is a little quirky but so authentic in disposing of and railing at many of the Victorian sentiments seen in novels just a decade or so earlier This novel was banned on its publication in 1929 because of vulgar language, sexual dalliances and graphic descriptions of trench warfare There is probably little in this novel that would be objectionable to a teenager today Aldington is an excellent narrator although the dialogue is pretty average Here is an example of his views in a wonderful prologue Under the heading Killed in Action, one of these later lists contained the words Winterbourne, Edward Frederick George, A Capt., 2 9 Battn R Foddershire Regt The small interest created by this item of news and the rapidity with which he was forgotten would have surprised even George Winterbourne and he had that bottomless cynicism of the infantry subaltern which veiled itself in imbecile cheerfulness, and thereby misled a good many not very acute people Winterbourne had rather hoped he would be killed, and knew that his premature demise in the middle twenties would be borne with easy stoicism by those who survived him But his vanity would have been a little shocked by what actually happened So I give this novel 4.5 stars, if you like war novels probably five stars

  4. Elliott Elliott says:

    Most World War 1 literature in popular culture seems to begin and end with All Quiet on the Western Front, which I hesitate to refer to as overrated Perhaps the best way to refer to it is overused, but, it s hard then not to look back to All Quiet when reading any of piece of literature about the First World War In any instance I think then that Richard Aldington ought to be just as widely read as Remarque and I ll explain why.Remarque concentrates on a group Paul Baumer s friends are Most World War 1 literature in popular culture seems to begin and end with All Quiet on the Western Front, which I hesitate to refer to as overrated Perhaps the best way to refer to it is overused, but, it s hard then not to look back to All Quiet when reading any of piece of literature about the First World War In any instance I think then that Richard Aldington ought to be just as widely read as Remarque and I ll explain why.Remarque concentrates on a group Paul Baumer s friends are picked off until there s just Paul, and then he too is claimed by the war at the very end of the novel The tragedy being that Baumer s death as with his comrades is just so common that it doesn t even warrant mention in the reports of the day everything is merely all quiet There of course is the tragedy a life is so cheap that in spite of all the experience that one life has it is completely meaningless in the context of the war Remarque obviously wants the reader to imagine themselves within the same situation Remarque goes for empathy Now, Remarque s book is excellent, don t get me wrong and this empathy works very well The problem is that where Remarque has his group of characters go from close friends doing very unmilitary things together chasing girls, hanging around town, so on and so forth, there is a time before when getting together with a group of your closest friends to fight and kill other groups of close friends was not even a remote thought Aldington meanwhile has his main character George Winterbourne who s very alone He has few close friends, he has romantic partners sure enough, but he is not really attached to people He easily acquires and loses many people with only passing notice Even his wife and mistress aren t very close with him since they each have their own other sexual partners aside from George George s parents meanwhile are the proverbial phonies of Holden Caulfield speak His father is a bit of a Quixote character who simply exists on a separate plane of existence from his son, while his mother rather likes the consecutive ideas of a son a son in the army serving his country and a dead son having served his country These she likes not for any of her son s accomplishments, but for the attention that they give her These phases of George Winterbourne s life are mere tools for her own purposes.That relationship cuts to the heart of the book, and the difference between Remarque and Aldington Remarque would fully acknowledge that this group of youth he portrays are used as tools, but his focus is on the breaks between individuals that this war causes, the loss of life as national tragedy, that is his focus.Aldington is not interested in this His focus is that on how the individual is used, how the individual progresses from body to corpse, and corpse to memory George was not important for any social reasons, George was important because he was a soldier pointing his gun in the correct direction His death is important because it goes back to and help props up that authority which sent him there in the first place You can see this with the banality of the corpses in the final scenes they are at best obstacles in ones path whether they are French or German is immaterial It is a numbers crunch Again, this is something that Remarque would no doubt totally agree with, but since his focus is elsewhere it is not fleshed out nearly so well Aldington s message is that it wasn t necessarily that society lost its humanity, rather it slikely that it never had any in the first place

  5. Jonathan Jonathan says:

    This is a book of contrasts The title and start of the novel tells the reader that the central character, George Winterbourne is a soldier in the First World War, killed a week before the signing of the armistice Published in 1929, it is one of the many novels from the war which in part helped define its historical significance by presenting characters who were seen as victims rather than victors Not only this, but also, with the increasing mechanisation of warfare, their actual significance This is a book of contrasts The title and start of the novel tells the reader that the central character, George Winterbourne is a soldier in the First World War, killed a week before the signing of the armistice Published in 1929, it is one of the many novels from the war which in part helped define its historical significance by presenting characters who were seen as victims rather than victors Not only this, but also, with the increasing mechanisation of warfare, their actual significance to the outcome of the war was vastly reduced And many of them realised this After telling us about George s demise, the narrator takes us back to his earlier life, his background, childhood and young manhood, his parents, friends, wife and mistress This part of the book is very funny, almost a social comedy, but as we already know the outcome there is an obvious pathos to it The humour is dark, the characters who stay in England pathetically ill informed and unable to comprehend what is about to happen When the war begins, and carries on, they still have no idea what it is really like to them the British Tommies are heroic gentlemen, and the Germans are barbaric scum The final section of the book deals with George s time in the trenches in France, first as a Private, and then as an Officer, a suitablysomber time, filled with some of the most graphic details of life and death on the Western Front that I have read.On leave in 1917 George returns to England where he cannot settle into a normal existence, sleeping during the day and walking around London at night The following passage made me realise yet again it seems , that things do not change very much He spent the night aimlessly wandering about the streets and sitting on Embankment benches He noticed that there were very few occupants of the benches the War found work for everyone Odd, he reflected, that in War time the country could spend five million pounds sterling a day in trying to kill Germans, and that in peace time it couldn t afford five million a year to attack its own destitution Having recently been told that NATO have informed Britain that we won t fulfill our commitments to them at our current level of spending, it made me consider that the Business of war hasn t changed much over the years, even as we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of that war

  6. Jeff Lacy Jeff Lacy says:

    This novel is about George Winterbourne who is drafted into the British Army during WWI, and as an infantryman, is sent to the Western Front, France, to fight and survive as best he can in the trenches Due to attrition he becomes a lieutenant along the front lines During battle in the trenches as they are beating back retreating German troops out of their trenches, George, seeing many of his troops dead astound him, pushes himself up to run and gunned down by German machine gun.Great character This novel is about George Winterbourne who is drafted into the British Army during WWI, and as an infantryman, is sent to the Western Front, France, to fight and survive as best he can in the trenches Due to attrition he becomes a lieutenant along the front lines During battle in the trenches as they are beating back retreating German troops out of their trenches, George, seeing many of his troops dead astound him, pushes himself up to run and gunned down by German machine gun.Great characterization It makes the development of the plot inevitable, believable, authentic Makes one think about the lunacy of trench warfare However, to war generally, the novel makes intelligent, thought provoking points about the sanity of war by nations, and how war changes the soldiers fighting it

  7. Allison Allison says:

    A really oddly written war book but ultimately very moving The first 2 3 is a wackily, sometimes salaciously written set up for who the guy is and how Victorian and Edwardian England formed him and society in all manner of dysfuncitonal ways which make war possible The last 1 3 is our man George in the war itself and it s some of the best writing I ve read on the pointless savagery and mind and nerve destroying, soul crushing nature of the whole thing A weird but stimulating and sickening rea A really oddly written war book but ultimately very moving The first 2 3 is a wackily, sometimes salaciously written set up for who the guy is and how Victorian and Edwardian England formed him and society in all manner of dysfuncitonal ways which make war possible The last 1 3 is our man George in the war itself and it s some of the best writing I ve read on the pointless savagery and mind and nerve destroying, soul crushing nature of the whole thing A weird but stimulating and sickening read

  8. Elena Elena says:

    This book is about British society of the XIXth beggining of XXth century and about the 1st World War The author shows how terrible it was to be a soldier The book was really impressive I gave 5 stars to it cause i like the way Aldington expresses human emotions But you should be ready the story is quite depressive and sad.

  9. legolasik legolasik says:

    I enjoyed this book despite the tinge of misogyny well, maybe not a tinge, because the specific attitude to women almost made me drop the book in the beginning But it was worthwhile, still This book is everything I think about the world today.

  10. Glass River Glass River says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here On 11 October 2012, David Cameron announced his government s plans for a truly national commemoration of the start of the First World War, to climax, at the centennial moment, of the first day of conflict, 4 August 2014 There was, said the prime minister, something captivating about stories of the First World War Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier to have fought in the war called great , died in July 2009 His verdict was, to the end, bleak It was, he said, organised murd On 11 October 2012, David Cameron announced his government s plans for a truly national commemoration of the start of the First World War, to climax, at the centennial moment, of the first day of conflict, 4 August 2014 There was, said the prime minister, something captivating about stories of the First World War Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier to have fought in the war called great , died in July 2009 His verdict was, to the end, bleak It was, he said, organised murder The best writers of the time concurred, although it took some time for the bruises of the First World War to come to the literary surface Aldington s novel, along with Graves memoir Goodbye to All That, and Remarque s ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT all appeared within a few months of each other in 1928 9 One reads these books not to revisit, in some Goyaesque sense, the horrors of war though there is plenty of that , but in search of an answer to the vexing question why did men as sensible as Graves, Remarque and Aldington throw themselves so voluntarily into this global meat grinder It is not a question they found easy to answer themselves.Death of a Hero is less a novel than a symptom of what was not yet called post traumatic stress disorder The 1920s gave it the lovelier name neurasthenia Aldington, bohemian by nature, began his literary career as a poet Unlike many of his peers Rosenberg, Owen, Sorley he survived the trenches, gas, and shell shock Survived, that is, after a fashion A patriot when he joined up to fight for king and country, he lost his belief in the trenches Nationalism , he discovered, is a silly cock crowing on his own dunghill Kings, kaisers, tsars, and nations simply weren t worth sixteen million lives The pointlessness of it all imbued him with a sense of cosmic despair he claimed to have attempted suicide twice while serving courageously For the rest of his life he maintained, There are two kinds of men those who have been to the front and those who haven t It was his personal heart of darkness Kill the hero , instructed Zola Field Marshal General Haig and Kaiser Wilhelm had done that for the writers of Europe Aldington began writing Death of a Hero, his first novel, almost the day the war finished It would not see print until 1929 Transparently autobiographical, it tells, via an unnamed narrator, the story of George Winterbourne It opens bleakly The casualty lists went on appearing for a long time after the Armistice last spasms of Europe s severed arteries On this bloody list is the name of the novel s hero The narrative spins back from this prelude George was born middle class into a family with the generic middle class woes a professionally unachieving father and a snobbish, dissatisfied mother But he is a gentleman Defying his heritage, he hangs out in pre war London with the leading lights of art and literature he is himself artistic He and his lover marry, with the understanding that the union will be open or adulterous, as their parents stuffy generation would call it George volunteers, in the spirit of Rupert Brooke like patriotism, when General Kitchener points his finger Fighting a war will be simpler, he expects, than his private life, which, in the way of open unions , has become rather tangled In the trenches George discovers the real enemy is not the Hun but England a country where there are so many old fools and so few young ones Wholly disillusioned as armistice approaches, he hurls himself into a hail of machine gun fire The universe exploded darkly into oblivion.Chatto who had just rejected LADY CHATTERLEY S LOVER agreed to publish Aldington only if he submitted his text to some savage blue pencilling Aldington insisted on asterisks to mark the f ing mutilation He gave as his reason it is better for the book to appear mutilated than for me to say what I don t believe

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10 thoughts on “Death of a Hero

  1. Kinga Kinga says:

    I initially bought this book when I realised what a big trauma WWI was for the Brits and wanted to learnabout it Like most people in the world, I learnt history at school, and it was the usual, jingoistic and egocentric version of it that schoolchildren all over the world are subjected to In Poland, WWI is glossed over but for its one, most important aspect, and that is the return of Polish independence For us, of course it is all about WWII Now that I have read Death of a Hero I can I initially bought this book when I realised what a big trauma WWI was for the Brits and wanted to learnabout it Like most people in the world, I learnt history at school, and it was the usual, jingoistic and egocentric version of it that schoolchildren all over the world are subjected to In Poland, WWI is glossed over but for its one, most important aspect, and that is the return of Polish independence For us, of course it is all about WWII Now that I have read Death of a Hero I can t believe this country seems to have completely forgotten the unruly, modernist gem Or perhaps, I can believe it, because Aldington doesn t have anything positive to say about his motherland This book is a precocious and observant child who doesn t quite know what it wants to be when it grows up but The author himself acknowledges that in the preface where he saysThis book is not the work of a professional novelist It is, apparently, not a novel at all Certain conventions of form and method in the novel have been erected, I gather, into immutable laws, and are looked upon with quite superstitious reverence They are entirely disregarded here To me the excuse for the novel is that one can do any damn thing one pleases And so he does Even though it seems like the novel has a beginning, middle and end, it really feels like three different novels carelessly stitched together that differ in style and tone The third person narrator, who claims to be our hero s friend, every now and then turns omniscient where it suits him and spends the middle part of the book on a soapbox informing us of his various opinions about art, sex and the society Finally, Aldington includes the main spoiler in the very title of the book, as well as its prologue Yes, the main character, George Winterbourne, dies It s not so much the war that kills him but the idea of peace and his return to the so called normal life After announcing Winterbourne s death, the book goes back in time to focus on his parents and grandparents in a sardonic take on the British society It s a merciless and very funny caricature of the aspiring British middle class The reader might question what Winterbourne s grandparents grotesque marriage had to do with the World War I, but I think the author wanted to do away with this dreamy notion that WWI somehow ended some age of innocence in Britain That innocence was never there It s not until the last part of the book where we finally get to the war and the life in the trenches It s all pathos and bathos, and a pointless horror that WWI was As powerful as I expected


  2. Douglas Douglas says:

    This book initially came into my hands when I was fifteen years old, and found, by chance, the first unexpurgated edition in a bookstore in Paris For decades it was censored in England on account of the sheer venom that Aldington brought to his depiction of pre World War One British society, and of the war itself as conducted by the British High Command The novel tells the story of George Winterbourne as in Winter born , a young modernist British painter who before the war lives marginally in This book initially came into my hands when I was fifteen years old, and found, by chance, the first unexpurgated edition in a bookstore in Paris For decades it was censored in England on account of the sheer venom that Aldington brought to his depiction of pre World War One British society, and of the war itself as conducted by the British High Command The novel tells the story of George Winterbourne as in Winter born , a young modernist British painter who before the war lives marginally in London, focused mainly on his art, and has relationships with two young women Elizabeth who becomes his wife and Fanny who doesn t, but with whom he continues his liaison With the coming of war, he on principle joins up as an enlisted man, though his education would entitle him to become an officer Eventually, the sheer attrition rate of officers obliges him to become one The novel graphically and eloquently depicts both the hypocrisies of British pre War society, and the horrors and follies of the War itself While it was censored in Britain, it became very popular in the Soviet Union ironically, given that Aldington considered himself an anti communist.As I was living in France at the time, this bookthan any other I can think of helped me to get a sense of the extremity of horror and societal upheaval that lay behind the vast and silent cemeteries of Verdun, the Somme, and Ypres, and that had helped shape the twentieth century


  3. Dan Dan says:

    A largely autobiographical novel about a British soldier, George Winterbourne, and his experiences in WW1 as an infantryman and then an officer The novel is broken into thirds The first part is about George s parents and his own childhood before the war at the beginning of the 20th century The Winterbourne s are faux nobility and an odd family with a manipulative mother In the middle of the novel we see George strike out on his own to London as an author and then marry a young woman named El A largely autobiographical novel about a British soldier, George Winterbourne, and his experiences in WW1 as an infantryman and then an officer The novel is broken into thirds The first part is about George s parents and his own childhood before the war at the beginning of the 20th century The Winterbourne s are faux nobility and an odd family with a manipulative mother In the middle of the novel we see George strike out on his own to London as an author and then marry a young woman named Elizabeth George and Elizabeth end up in an open marriage and each take different lovers that makes for some unique situations The final third of the novel addresses George s experiences while fighting on the front lines for the British He starts as infantryman and serves seven months in France, then is sent home to officer s school where he returns six months later This part of the novel is very vivid and shocking much like All s Quiet on the Western Front The writing style used by Aldington is a mix of beautifully poetic paragraphs interspersed with realism and its shocking descriptions of trench warfare At times there is very choppy dialogue Aldington was a poet so this may explain the lack of continuity between sentences and his reluctance to use many conjunctions to extend sentences.So the novel is a little quirky but so authentic in disposing of and railing at many of the Victorian sentiments seen in novels just a decade or so earlier This novel was banned on its publication in 1929 because of vulgar language, sexual dalliances and graphic descriptions of trench warfare There is probably little in this novel that would be objectionable to a teenager today Aldington is an excellent narrator although the dialogue is pretty average Here is an example of his views in a wonderful prologue Under the heading Killed in Action, one of these later lists contained the words Winterbourne, Edward Frederick George, A Capt., 2 9 Battn R Foddershire Regt The small interest created by this item of news and the rapidity with which he was forgotten would have surprised even George Winterbourne and he had that bottomless cynicism of the infantry subaltern which veiled itself in imbecile cheerfulness, and thereby misled a good many not very acute people Winterbourne had rather hoped he would be killed, and knew that his premature demise in the middle twenties would be borne with easy stoicism by those who survived him But his vanity would have been a little shocked by what actually happened So I give this novel 4.5 stars, if you like war novels probably five stars


  4. Elliott Elliott says:

    Most World War 1 literature in popular culture seems to begin and end with All Quiet on the Western Front, which I hesitate to refer to as overrated Perhaps the best way to refer to it is overused, but, it s hard then not to look back to All Quiet when reading any of piece of literature about the First World War In any instance I think then that Richard Aldington ought to be just as widely read as Remarque and I ll explain why.Remarque concentrates on a group Paul Baumer s friends are Most World War 1 literature in popular culture seems to begin and end with All Quiet on the Western Front, which I hesitate to refer to as overrated Perhaps the best way to refer to it is overused, but, it s hard then not to look back to All Quiet when reading any of piece of literature about the First World War In any instance I think then that Richard Aldington ought to be just as widely read as Remarque and I ll explain why.Remarque concentrates on a group Paul Baumer s friends are picked off until there s just Paul, and then he too is claimed by the war at the very end of the novel The tragedy being that Baumer s death as with his comrades is just so common that it doesn t even warrant mention in the reports of the day everything is merely all quiet There of course is the tragedy a life is so cheap that in spite of all the experience that one life has it is completely meaningless in the context of the war Remarque obviously wants the reader to imagine themselves within the same situation Remarque goes for empathy Now, Remarque s book is excellent, don t get me wrong and this empathy works very well The problem is that where Remarque has his group of characters go from close friends doing very unmilitary things together chasing girls, hanging around town, so on and so forth, there is a time before when getting together with a group of your closest friends to fight and kill other groups of close friends was not even a remote thought Aldington meanwhile has his main character George Winterbourne who s very alone He has few close friends, he has romantic partners sure enough, but he is not really attached to people He easily acquires and loses many people with only passing notice Even his wife and mistress aren t very close with him since they each have their own other sexual partners aside from George George s parents meanwhile are the proverbial phonies of Holden Caulfield speak His father is a bit of a Quixote character who simply exists on a separate plane of existence from his son, while his mother rather likes the consecutive ideas of a son a son in the army serving his country and a dead son having served his country These she likes not for any of her son s accomplishments, but for the attention that they give her These phases of George Winterbourne s life are mere tools for her own purposes.That relationship cuts to the heart of the book, and the difference between Remarque and Aldington Remarque would fully acknowledge that this group of youth he portrays are used as tools, but his focus is on the breaks between individuals that this war causes, the loss of life as national tragedy, that is his focus.Aldington is not interested in this His focus is that on how the individual is used, how the individual progresses from body to corpse, and corpse to memory George was not important for any social reasons, George was important because he was a soldier pointing his gun in the correct direction His death is important because it goes back to and help props up that authority which sent him there in the first place You can see this with the banality of the corpses in the final scenes they are at best obstacles in ones path whether they are French or German is immaterial It is a numbers crunch Again, this is something that Remarque would no doubt totally agree with, but since his focus is elsewhere it is not fleshed out nearly so well Aldington s message is that it wasn t necessarily that society lost its humanity, rather it slikely that it never had any in the first place


  5. Jonathan Jonathan says:

    This is a book of contrasts The title and start of the novel tells the reader that the central character, George Winterbourne is a soldier in the First World War, killed a week before the signing of the armistice Published in 1929, it is one of the many novels from the war which in part helped define its historical significance by presenting characters who were seen as victims rather than victors Not only this, but also, with the increasing mechanisation of warfare, their actual significance This is a book of contrasts The title and start of the novel tells the reader that the central character, George Winterbourne is a soldier in the First World War, killed a week before the signing of the armistice Published in 1929, it is one of the many novels from the war which in part helped define its historical significance by presenting characters who were seen as victims rather than victors Not only this, but also, with the increasing mechanisation of warfare, their actual significance to the outcome of the war was vastly reduced And many of them realised this After telling us about George s demise, the narrator takes us back to his earlier life, his background, childhood and young manhood, his parents, friends, wife and mistress This part of the book is very funny, almost a social comedy, but as we already know the outcome there is an obvious pathos to it The humour is dark, the characters who stay in England pathetically ill informed and unable to comprehend what is about to happen When the war begins, and carries on, they still have no idea what it is really like to them the British Tommies are heroic gentlemen, and the Germans are barbaric scum The final section of the book deals with George s time in the trenches in France, first as a Private, and then as an Officer, a suitablysomber time, filled with some of the most graphic details of life and death on the Western Front that I have read.On leave in 1917 George returns to England where he cannot settle into a normal existence, sleeping during the day and walking around London at night The following passage made me realise yet again it seems , that things do not change very much He spent the night aimlessly wandering about the streets and sitting on Embankment benches He noticed that there were very few occupants of the benches the War found work for everyone Odd, he reflected, that in War time the country could spend five million pounds sterling a day in trying to kill Germans, and that in peace time it couldn t afford five million a year to attack its own destitution Having recently been told that NATO have informed Britain that we won t fulfill our commitments to them at our current level of spending, it made me consider that the Business of war hasn t changed much over the years, even as we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of that war


  6. Jeff Lacy Jeff Lacy says:

    This novel is about George Winterbourne who is drafted into the British Army during WWI, and as an infantryman, is sent to the Western Front, France, to fight and survive as best he can in the trenches Due to attrition he becomes a lieutenant along the front lines During battle in the trenches as they are beating back retreating German troops out of their trenches, George, seeing many of his troops dead astound him, pushes himself up to run and gunned down by German machine gun.Great character This novel is about George Winterbourne who is drafted into the British Army during WWI, and as an infantryman, is sent to the Western Front, France, to fight and survive as best he can in the trenches Due to attrition he becomes a lieutenant along the front lines During battle in the trenches as they are beating back retreating German troops out of their trenches, George, seeing many of his troops dead astound him, pushes himself up to run and gunned down by German machine gun.Great characterization It makes the development of the plot inevitable, believable, authentic Makes one think about the lunacy of trench warfare However, to war generally, the novel makes intelligent, thought provoking points about the sanity of war by nations, and how war changes the soldiers fighting it


  7. Allison Allison says:

    A really oddly written war book but ultimately very moving The first 2 3 is a wackily, sometimes salaciously written set up for who the guy is and how Victorian and Edwardian England formed him and society in all manner of dysfuncitonal ways which make war possible The last 1 3 is our man George in the war itself and it s some of the best writing I ve read on the pointless savagery and mind and nerve destroying, soul crushing nature of the whole thing A weird but stimulating and sickening rea A really oddly written war book but ultimately very moving The first 2 3 is a wackily, sometimes salaciously written set up for who the guy is and how Victorian and Edwardian England formed him and society in all manner of dysfuncitonal ways which make war possible The last 1 3 is our man George in the war itself and it s some of the best writing I ve read on the pointless savagery and mind and nerve destroying, soul crushing nature of the whole thing A weird but stimulating and sickening read


  8. Elena Elena says:

    This book is about British society of the XIXth beggining of XXth century and about the 1st World War The author shows how terrible it was to be a soldier The book was really impressive I gave 5 stars to it cause i like the way Aldington expresses human emotions But you should be ready the story is quite depressive and sad.


  9. legolasik legolasik says:

    I enjoyed this book despite the tinge of misogyny well, maybe not a tinge, because the specific attitude to women almost made me drop the book in the beginning But it was worthwhile, still This book is everything I think about the world today.


  10. Glass River Glass River says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here On 11 October 2012, David Cameron announced his government s plans for a truly national commemoration of the start of the First World War, to climax, at the centennial moment, of the first day of conflict, 4 August 2014 There was, said the prime minister, something captivating about stories of the First World War Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier to have fought in the war called great , died in July 2009 His verdict was, to the end, bleak It was, he said, organised murd On 11 October 2012, David Cameron announced his government s plans for a truly national commemoration of the start of the First World War, to climax, at the centennial moment, of the first day of conflict, 4 August 2014 There was, said the prime minister, something captivating about stories of the First World War Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier to have fought in the war called great , died in July 2009 His verdict was, to the end, bleak It was, he said, organised murder The best writers of the time concurred, although it took some time for the bruises of the First World War to come to the literary surface Aldington s novel, along with Graves memoir Goodbye to All That, and Remarque s ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT all appeared within a few months of each other in 1928 9 One reads these books not to revisit, in some Goyaesque sense, the horrors of war though there is plenty of that , but in search of an answer to the vexing question why did men as sensible as Graves, Remarque and Aldington throw themselves so voluntarily into this global meat grinder It is not a question they found easy to answer themselves.Death of a Hero is less a novel than a symptom of what was not yet called post traumatic stress disorder The 1920s gave it the lovelier name neurasthenia Aldington, bohemian by nature, began his literary career as a poet Unlike many of his peers Rosenberg, Owen, Sorley he survived the trenches, gas, and shell shock Survived, that is, after a fashion A patriot when he joined up to fight for king and country, he lost his belief in the trenches Nationalism , he discovered, is a silly cock crowing on his own dunghill Kings, kaisers, tsars, and nations simply weren t worth sixteen million lives The pointlessness of it all imbued him with a sense of cosmic despair he claimed to have attempted suicide twice while serving courageously For the rest of his life he maintained, There are two kinds of men those who have been to the front and those who haven t It was his personal heart of darkness Kill the hero , instructed Zola Field Marshal General Haig and Kaiser Wilhelm had done that for the writers of Europe Aldington began writing Death of a Hero, his first novel, almost the day the war finished It would not see print until 1929 Transparently autobiographical, it tells, via an unnamed narrator, the story of George Winterbourne It opens bleakly The casualty lists went on appearing for a long time after the Armistice last spasms of Europe s severed arteries On this bloody list is the name of the novel s hero The narrative spins back from this prelude George was born middle class into a family with the generic middle class woes a professionally unachieving father and a snobbish, dissatisfied mother But he is a gentleman Defying his heritage, he hangs out in pre war London with the leading lights of art and literature he is himself artistic He and his lover marry, with the understanding that the union will be open or adulterous, as their parents stuffy generation would call it George volunteers, in the spirit of Rupert Brooke like patriotism, when General Kitchener points his finger Fighting a war will be simpler, he expects, than his private life, which, in the way of open unions , has become rather tangled In the trenches George discovers the real enemy is not the Hun but England a country where there are so many old fools and so few young ones Wholly disillusioned as armistice approaches, he hurls himself into a hail of machine gun fire The universe exploded darkly into oblivion.Chatto who had just rejected LADY CHATTERLEY S LOVER agreed to publish Aldington only if he submitted his text to some savage blue pencilling Aldington insisted on asterisks to mark the f ing mutilation He gave as his reason it is better for the book to appear mutilated than for me to say what I don t believe


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