Under Fire (Paperback)
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A classic novel of French fighting men during the First World War Every great event inspires the writers of its time. Among the works they create are novels, some of which have become widely recognised as classics and which are known by almost everyone whether they have read the book or not. Tolstoy's War and Peace is one such, remarkable for its depiction of Russia in the early nineteenth century and the age of Napoleon. Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front is another, widely admired for its portrayal of the First World War from the perspective of the German Army. Irrespective of the deserved status of these works, translation to the movie screen assists the phenomenon. Inevitably, there are works less well known to many but which those 'in the know' recognise as literary achievements of equal worth and stature. This book, Under Fire (Le Feu) is such a book. It is a classic novel of the experience of the Great War from the perspective of French soldiers who fought in the trenches. Whilst it is a novel, it derives its remarkable authenticity of atmosphere, detail, characterisation and events from the actual wartime experiences of its author, Henri Barbusse, who served as a soldier on the front line. Indeed, his book, a stark anti-war portrayal of the ordeals of ordinary poilou under fire is dedicated to his fallen comrades from the battles at Crouy and on Hill 119 which took place in 1915. Readers should be prepared for both a portrayal of men at war in the raw and experiences of tragic intensity. This is, of course, an essential work of twentieth century literature and is highly recommended. Available in softcover and hardcover with dustjacket.