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'The Diary of a Dead Officer is one of the most interesting human documents of the Great War. It is remarkable for what it says, the way in which it was edited, and its early date.' --Dominic Hibberd
'The value of the Diary lies in its absolute frankness, its stark realism, its obvious truth and sincerity.' --C. E. M. Joad
If ever we needed reminding of the senseless slaughter of WW1 on the Western Front and the devastation of young intellectuals who had the potential to contribute to the arts and other fields of human endeavour, this diary is a telling and damning reminder. We see in this diary the transformation from an Oxford scholar with four years experience of the Oxford Officers' Training Corps, to an enthusiastic, urgent volunteer for the Public Schools Battalion, his first experience in France and his continuing disenchantment with war and the army until his untimely demise near Bapaume in 1917. West's diary entry for the 20th September 1916 is one of the most powerful ever written about the horrors of a bombardment that kills, wounds, shell shocks and buries its victims, alive and dead. A selection of poetry that concludes the book must be for the literary critic indeed profound, something reminiscent of Robert Browning. More's the pity, West never lived longer to pursue this endeavour. The illustration on the cover of this book featuring a red poppy has, I feel, the final say: Lest We Forget. --Syd Wigzell
This edition retains the original Introduction by Cyril Joad, an Oxford colleague of West's and an active pacifist; and contains a new Foreword by Nigel Jones, author of Rupert Broke: Life, Death and Myth and The War Walk.
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