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“A lyrical meditation on memory and the meaning of World War I. . . . [A] thoughtful and thought-provoking pilgrimage through the war’s bibliography and battlefields. . . . Illuminate[s] how thoroughly memory and history are interwoven with literature.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“[A] strange and wonderful meditation on the cultural legacy of World War I. . . . The Missing of the Somme shows us that stark simplicity isn’t the only way to talk about war. . . . [It is] a lovely, alive work.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“The Missing of the Somme . . . looks back at the unfathomable destruction of [World War I] through the fogged, distorted lens of collective memory, which can only deteriorate further with the passing of time. . . . How do we bring ourselves to acknowledge such awful events? And what purpose do memorials really serve? They are, Dyer implies, inherently insufficient.”
—The Boston Globe
“Fresh and often unsettling. . . . Sophisticated and nuanced. . . . Quirky but often brilliant. . . . The timing could not be more appropriate. . . . For Americans, as for Britons, memory of World War I is now entirely a matter of secondhand information. Only the films, books and monuments remain. Dyer poignantly and at times playfully examines the way these objects shape his countrymen’s mental picture of what happened between 1914 and 1918. . . . As [his] meditation on remembrance demonstrates, reminders of the past do have a life of their own, shaping and reshaping the vision of history we carry in our minds. . . . The Missing of the Somme will not disappoint [Dyer’s] fans.”
—The Kansas City Star
“[An] instant classic. . . . Dyer supports his point with an impressive survey of poems, letters, memoirs, and novels, combined with a perceptive analysis of British war memorials, and utilizing extensive citations.”
“Brilliant. . . . The great Great War book of our time.”
“Dyer delights in producing books that are unique, like keys.”
—James Wood, The New Yorker
“[A] penetrating meditation upon war and remembrance.”
—The Daily Telegraph
“No contemporary writer blends genres like Geoff Dyer.”
“A loving book . . . about mourning and memory, about how the Great War has been represented—and our sense of it shaped and defined—by different artistic media. . . . Its textures are the very rhythms of memory and consciousness.”
Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels, a critical study of John Berger, and five other books, including But Beautiful, which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize, and Out of Sheer Rage, which was a National Book Critics Circle finalist. He lives in London.
You can read it in one sitting if you have the inclination.
This is territory previously explored by others, most notably Paul Fussell in "The Great War and Modern Memory", to which Dyer pays tribute.
We need books like this and writers with the candor and intensity of feeling displayed here by its author.
I bought this book because I liked Dyer's JEFF IN VENICE, DEATH IN VARANASI so much. And THE MISSING may be even better. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Bilko
This book is a lyrical tribute to the lost men of World War I, as counterintuitive as that may sound. Read morePublished 3 months ago by NancyM
Read this book and know that we are all only human and that for a brief time we walk this earth only to become one with it again.Published 3 months ago by Caryl L Zigrossi
...to reverse the word order of the title of the famous World War II novel by Herman Wouk. Geoff Dyer's work concerns another war, once known as "The Great War," and now more... Read morePublished 3 months ago by John P. Jones III
Most interesting for students of WW 1 and how it has been remembered publicly I would have preferred less of his personal "journal" insertions and more comparing... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Plain English
Extraordinary documentation and thoughtful meditations by Geoff Dyer on the cultural impact and lasting meanings of WWI, especially the July 1, 1916 Battle of the SommePublished 4 months ago by joseph heininger
Face-Books: This thought-provoking book is extremely short. You can read it in one sitting if you have the inclination. Read morePublished 10 months ago by nate1952
Geoff Dyer visits the various fields and memorials of the Battle of the Somme, setting his trip in the context of a survey of British reactions, memorials, attitudes to war and... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Thomas Dunn
This is a rambling read as the author shifts gears from time to time and swings abruptly from the past and into the present. Read morePublished on November 8, 2012 by Mike B