God's Fifth Column: A Biography of the Age: 1890-1940

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9780879514211: God's Fifth Column: A Biography of the Age: 1890-1940

God's Fifth Column is the last book of William Gerhardie. Well known in the 1920s and 1930s chiefly as a novelist (whose books were admired by Arnold Bennett, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and others), Gerhardie fell mysteriously silent at the beginning of the Second World War and did not publish another book during the remaining thirty-seven years of his life. After his death the manuscript of this ambitious and unusual book was discovered among his papers and was skilfully edited for publication by Michael Holroyd and Robert Skidedlsky. The novel itself is a biography of the age, 1890-1940, through which Gerhardie lived. For Gerhardie, it was the artists rather than orthodox historians, the men of imagination rather than of will, who were the true spokesmen for mankind; and it is through the artist's vision and the writer's use of language that he tries to bring the age into moral perspective. God's Fifth Column is one of the most remarkable works of this gifted writer.

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About the Author:

William Alexander Gerhardie was born in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1895. As a young man he went to London and, when the First World War broke out, joined the army. He was first sent to Russia and later travelled the world before beginning to write. Futility (1922), his first novel, was sponsored by Katherine Mansfield, and other notable works of his include The Polyglots (1925) and Of Mortal Love (1936). Gerhardie's writing was acclaimed as an influence on many of his peers, including Anthony Powell, H. G. Wells, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene and Olivia Manning. He died in London in 1977.

From Publishers Weekly:

To English historian and novelist Gerhardie (1895-1977), history is defined by a battle between self-interest and spiritual love; he offers witty, idiosyncratic profiles of Tolstoy, Woodrow Wilson, Hitler, Lenin and Shaw, among others.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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