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David Holbrook's remarkable autobiographical novel was first published in 1966, and immediately received high praise from critics. "The Times Educational Supplement" declared that it is, 'one of the few war novels that is conceived on the same plane as Wilfred Owen's war poems' while the "Daily Telegraph" said that, 'Mr Holbrook's evocations of tension, shock, fear and the grinding tumult of battle are very good' and that the book contains, 'the best battle descriptions...for a long time.' Only very lightly fictionalised, the narrative follows a young Cambridge undergraduate from his call-up in 1942, through training as a tank officer, the landings in Normandy, and his command of a Sherman tank in the vicious post - D-Day battles to his eventual return. This is an authentic, first-hand account of the effect of military service, culminating in battle, death and injury, upon a sensitive young man, and it remains one of the most eloquent pieces of armoured warfare ever written.
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David Holbrook was born in 1923, educated in Norwich and at Cambridge, and from 1942 to 1945 served as an officer in an armoured yeomanry regiment. His many writings include books on English teaching, novels, poetry, and studies in philosophy, literature and music. He is Fellow and Director of English Studies at Downing College, Cambridge, where he lives.
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