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Boyd, Thomas

ISBN 10: 080930855X / ISBN 13: 9780809308552
Published by Southern Illinois University Press, 1978
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Omnibooks By Mail (Fort Worth, TX, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

F. Scott Fitzgerald closed his review of this book by calling it, "Not only the best combatant story of the great war but also the best war book since The Red Badge of Courage." Reprinted as one of a series of Lost American Fiction, edited by Matthew Broccoli with an Afterword by James Dickey who said, "There is no battle scene in Tolstoy's War and Peace, no conflict in Stendhal's account of Waterloo, to equal the drama and terror of Boyd's account of Private Hicks' advance through the wheat." Book is tightly bound, seems hardly read, with no names or markings. DJ is bright and clean, with a bit of edgewear, primarily at the head and foot of spine. Now in mylar cover. Becoming difficult to find. Bookseller Inventory # 002089

Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press

Publication Date: 1978

Binding: Cloth HB

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good Plus

Edition: Reprint Edition

About this title


“There is no battle in Tolstoy’s War and Peace, no conflict in Stendhal’s account of Waterloo, to equal the drama and terror of Boyd’s account of Private Hicks’ advance through the wheat,” James Dickey writes in his Afterword to this new edition of a truly remarkable World War I novel.


Earlier, in 1923 on the novel’s first publication, F. Scott Fitzgerald closed his review of it with the statement that it “is not only the best combatant story of the great war but also the best war book since The Red Badge of Courage,” and was joined in his praise of the novel by such critics as Edmund Wilson.


Boyd, who fought in the war, writes in the tradition of Stephen Crane. In Private Hicks, ordinary, young, trapped by World War I, he creates the archetype of the modern warrior for whom battle holds a horror no previous soldier had to endure—the horror of technology—because of which a man may fight, suffer wounds, die, without ever seeing the face of the enemy. It is a vision of war, Dickey adds, “that is as profound as any vision of war has ever been from the tribes of the caves to the ambushes of Vietnam.” Boyd saw war as a massive, brutal rape on even the most elemental of human rights, a rape no man deserves, no mind can tolerate.


Thomas Boyd, who died in 1935 at the age of thirty-six, joined the Marines as a high school student from Defiance, Ohio. He saw action on several fronts, was gassed, and was awarded the Croix de guerre.

From the Back Cover:

Fresh out of a Defiance, Ohio, high school, Thomas Boyd (1898-1935) joined the Marines to serve his country in the patriotic heat of the spring of 1917. In 1919 he came home from the war with a Croix de Guerre and a desire to write. He joined the St. Paul News as a journalist and opened a bookstore, whose patrons included F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis. Through the Wheat appeared to immediate acclaim, with F. Scott Fitzgerald calling it "a work of art" and "arresting". Boyd wrote five other works before he died in Vermont of a cerebral hemorrhage at age thirty-seven.

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