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Memoirs of an Infantry Officer Paperback – December 1, 1930

16 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Sherston Trilogy Series

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About the Author

Siegfried Sassoon was born in 1886 and educated at Clare College, Cambridge. He served in the trenches during the First World War, where he began to write the poems for which he is remembered. Despatched as 'shell-shocked' to hospital, he organised public protest against the war. His poetry initially met with little response, but his reputation grew steadily in the following decades. Apart from the War Poems of 1919, he published eight volumes of verse during his lifetime. But it is as a novelist and autobiographer that he is perhaps better known. Sassoon's semi-autobiographical trilogy, Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man (1928), Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930) and Sherston's Progress (1936), was outstandingly successful. He published several more volumes of autobiography, including Siegfried's Journey (1945), before his death in 1967. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Publications (December 1, 1930)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931313814
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931313810
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Virgil on August 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Siegfreid Sassoon's wonderful war memoir is thinly disguised as the story of George Sherston. Based solely on Sassoon's life in the trenches of WWI, it recounts the horror and scale of carnage that occurred. More importantly it shows the emotionally scars that the survivors carried with them as a result of exposure.
Sherston (Sassoon) was a rather spoiled and pampered young upper class Englishman. The war changed all that. Confronted with death, destruction and idiotic leadership from the High Command you sense the inner turmoil of Sherston.
Relieved when he is not involved with the fighting he is driven by guilt over the loss of the soldiers in his battalion. Consequently when his platoon is on the line he takes great risks in reconaissance of the German positions.
The effects of non-stop total war, stupid leadership and the complete contrast between England and the trenches (only a few hundred miles apart) is staggering to Sassoon. Sassoon becomes anti-war and considers becoming an objector, but his obvious connection to his comrades and loyalty to them wins out in the end. He hates the war but won't abandon his comrades in the field.
This is a great war memoir written by a poet who survived and was changed for life by his experiences in it.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on August 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
I already knew Siegfried from his poetry. Little did I know or suspect what a madman he was on the battlefield. Makes the poetry read a bit differently. He led raid after raid (and voluntarily!), possibly hurling more havoc and grenades on the enemy than any other single soldier. Luckily he was on our side. Toward the end of the war this highly decorated soldier begins to have his doubts about the madness of it all but few practiced it with more gusto. I first read about his heroics in Graves' Goodbye to All That(which is another excellent war memoir,& which also features a strange meeting at Oxford with that other legend you have probably heard of, T.E. Lawrence), both books will give you the war experience from the insiders who lived it. I would make a quick mention of the best war book of them all All Quiet on The Western Front but you read that already I'm certain, as well as that gem by Hemingway A Farewell to Arms. Graves and Sasson belong in that company.
....Ghastly dawn with vaporous coasts/
Gleams desolate along the sky, night's misery ended.
(from Sassoon poem "Wirers")
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By M. N. McBain on October 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Even if you are not a student of history or the First World War this is an interesting read. Sassoon paints pictures with his words which not only perfectly describe his surroundings but also give the reader a unique glimpse into the mind of a man suffering, yet unable to help those around him.
This book is important historically not only because it is a first-hand account of almost the whole of The Great War, but because it is a record of a psuedo-successful personal revolt against the British Military establishment, as well as giving the reader the author's experiences with meeting some very famous people, including winston churchill.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book, along with Robert Graves' "Goodbye to all that" are simply the best combat memoirs ever written by officers. Horror is mundane, desultory; selflessness is the literal order of the day. Yet senior officers are lost in form as always. Even better both men served in the same division, although never together, and even better yet, were prewar friends. This book is Sassoon's answer to Graves' book, and I don't believe anyone can feel the full impact of the mindless brutality on the Western Front without reading both. These books convince me that the Western Front was a lot like Vietnam without end, the years came and went... and Sassoon became an accomplished killer for God and King.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By RCM VINE VOICE on April 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
While perhaps best known for his poetry written during WWI, Siegfried Sassoon was a very talented wordsmith in general, a trait that is demonstrated in his second semi-fictionalized autobiography, "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer". Sassoon chose to fictionalize his accounts of his life, an odd technique that allows him to distance himself from these experiences as he intimately describes the raw emotion and response behind them. In his three memoirs he is George Sherston, a thinly veiled version of himself, who thinnly veils the real-life characters he encountered during these times.

Readers are automatically flung into Sassoon's war experience, from the disjointed and fantastical training, to the brutal reality of life in the trenches. Sassoon describes these experiences in vivid detail, the sheer misery of trench warfare, the almost callous attitude toward the dead on both sides, and the surreal life led by those back home. Sassoon, nicknamed "Mad Jack" for his stubborness and seemingly sheer lunacy at times, was awfully lucky during his battle campaigns. He was wounded a few times, always sent back home to England to recuperate, and almost happy to return to the war.

However, after one session as an invalid, Sassoon begins to recognize that the war may not be all it's cracked up to be, that those in power are not telling the truth about their war aims, and that he may just be a lowly pawn in a game he doesn't want to play. Towards the end of his narrative, Sassoon tells of his decision to speak out against the war, even if it meant being court martialed. This act, filtered with courage and fear, is achingly portrayed as an act both necessary and questionable: as Sassoon places himself in danger, he questions his true beliefs in the matter.
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