BOOKS OF WAR POETRY, CURRENT AND RECENT WARS, WAR LAW, HISTORY, LIVES OF POETS AND DVDs
Lately re-discovered poet of the First World War
Cockerels and Vultures - The discovery of a major poet of the First World War
The chance finding of a 90-year-old slim and musty little volume of poetry at a jumble sale in France led to the discovery of a major poet of the First World War. For almost 90 years Albert-Paul Granier was unknown in his own country. The poetry was a revelation to the finder. Granier was soon republished in France and astonished French readers. Granier stands comparison with the best of British war poets.
Now English-speaking readers can encounter this exceptional talent through Ian Higgins’ fine translation.
Cockerels and Vultures is a book for everyone interested in the poetry of the First World War.
Published this January by Saxon Books in paperback at £9-95.
Albert-Paul Granier was born in 1888 in Le Croisic, on the Atlantic coast of Brittany. He was a talented sportsman, musician and poet. He qualified as a solicitor, but, from 1911 to 1913, he was required by compulsory national service to serve in the army, where he trained as an artillery officer. He was recalled to the army in August 1914 and served on the Western Front. He became an airborne artillery observer and was shot down and killed over the battlefields of Verdun on 17 August 1917.
His volume of war poetry, Les Coqs et les Vautours, had just been published in Paris. It was singled out for praise by the Académie Française in 1918 before falling, unaccountably, into obscurity.
Since the dramatic rediscovery of Albert-Paul Granier the translator, Ian Higgins, has been in close contact with the poet’s surviving relatives, and is uniquely placed to introduce this remarkable writer to English-speaking readers.
FROM A REVIEW IN GUILD OF BATTLEFIELD GUIDES MAGAZINE
Cockerels and Vultures
“By 1914 French poetry had come much further along the path of modernism than British poetry. Where many of the British combatant war poets struggled at first to find the language and forms through which to convey their experience of modern industrial warfare, a young poet like Granier could employ a rhythmic free verse with ease and animate his battle scenes and war-torn landscapes with bold original imagery.
These are the poems of a Frenchman in another sense too: they vividly depict a landscape and culture that have been destroyed and their mood varies from pathos to horror as Granier observes processions of refugees, abandoned dogs, burnt-out hamlets and wrecked churches. There is a demonic power in the forces of war that shatter nature and a deadly calm in the war-torn landscapes that result.
They are also the poems of a soldier and an artilleryman. The big guns are portrayed animalistically, in dramatic but fine detail, as they blunder through tiny villages at night, a ‘deadweight cortege of death’ (‘The Mortars’), or in battle ‘rear their black necks like snakes striking,/Spewing
hatred by the mouthful’ (‘The Battle’). And yet, as they ‘stop for breath’, the battle over, the poet cannot refrain from ‘lovingly, gently’ patting ‘the weary guns’. In ‘The Fort’, the determination with which Fort Troyon at Verdun was held in September 1914 is celebrated. The paradoxes of war are here, as well as all its deadly and surreal power.” - Vivien Whelpton.
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The German Jewish experience of the First World War
by Peter Applebaum
Around thirty Jewish chaplains served with honour and distinction in the German army during the First World War, providing spiritual care for about 100,000 Jewish, as well as non-Jewish, soldiers, and also Jewish refugees made homeless by the Tsarist army. This is the first book in English detailing the writings of these Jewish chaplains, and includes original translations of memoirs and diaries, annotated with historical, religious and literary notes. In spite of their loyal service, between 1918 and 1941 all of these rabbis died or were driven out of Germany, and at least four were murdered during the Holocaust. The book provides a balanced view of the situation of Jews in the German army on the Western, Eastern and Balkan Fronts and also provides a glimpse into the vanished world of Eastern European Judaism.
Published by Vallentine Mitchell; annotated, hardback edition edition (16 Sep 2013)
406 pages £50-00
About the Author, Peter Appelbaum:
Peter Appelbaum was born in 1947 and educated in South Africa, where he graduated MD. He emigrated to the United States in 1978 and is currently retired as Emeritus Professor of Pathology, and writes books on Jewish military history. German Jewish poetry, which he has translated, can be found on this website.
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A collection of
First World War
We Are The Dead, Poems and Paintings From The Great War, 1914-1918
"We are the Dead"
is a superbly illustrated collection of poems with full colour war paintings of the period. This anthology looks beyond the conventional sources of poetry of the First World War with poetry from Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia and Canada.
Selected and introduced by David Roberts.
A quality, beautifully illustrated hardback with both popular and rarely seen poetry of the First World War. Published by The Red Horse Press.
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Another collection of international poetry of the
First World War
The Lost Voices of World War One, edited by Tim Cross, 1988. This volume contains poetry, short stories and extracts from plays by writers from several nations. There are also introductory critical essays and biographical and bibliographical notes. Large format, 400 pages. Paperback. This book would be difficult to find in bookshops. Prices on Amazon vary between about £10 to about £40 (second hand and new). Click the Amazon link below for more information or to buy.
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Recent and current wars - what happened, why, and what might be done.
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|Out in the Dark: Poetry of the First World War in Context and with Basic Notes. Edited by David Roberts. Paperback – 1998.195 poems by 47 poets. Includes 20 poems by Wilfred Owen and 27 by Siegfried Sassoon. A wealth of background information including basic notes on unusual vocabulary. Illustrated. Ideal for students and the general reader. 190 pages. £10-99. Click for more information on this website.
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|Minds at War: the Poetry and Experience of the First World War Edited by David Roberts Paperback – 1996. 250 poems by 80 poets including 27 by Wilfred Owen and 32 by Siegfried Sassoon. Other major poets are well represented. A wealth of background information. Illustrated. 400 pages.
£15-99. Click for more information on this website.
Ninth printing, 2014.
Wilfred Owen's poetry, Wilfred Owen's letters,
Wilfred Owen's life
Wilfred Owen, who died at the age of twenty-five a few days before the end of the First World War, is widely recognised as the greatest of writers of war poetry in the English language. In all he wrote only about thirty poems and fragments on the subject of war and his reputation rests on less than a dozen of these poems. More about Wilfred Owen >>>
Wilfred Owen's Poetry
The Poems of Wilfred Owen (Wordsworth Poetry Library). Contains some 59 poems and fragments by Wilfred Owen including all his most important war poems. Texts are based on the 1931 Edmund Blunden edition of Owen's poetry. Paperback. Not great quality paper.
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War Poems of Wilfred Owen by Wilfred Owen. Edited by Jon Stallworthy. Paperback. Each poem is accompanied by detailed notes describing the poem's origin, references, influences and special vocabulary
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Wilfred Owen's Letters
Wilfred Owen, Selected Letters, Oxford Paperbacks. Edited by Jon Bell. A selection of Owen's letters from 1902 to1918. - 326 of the original 673 letters, but containing almost all of Owen's letters from the war years. Valuable reading to help understand Owen's life and poetry. Currently (February 2010) only available second hand, at about £70-00.
Wilfred Owen's Life
Wilfred Owen: A Biography, by Jon Stallworthy. Oxford Paperbacks (1974). Professor Stallworthy's groundbreaking study of the life of Wilfred Owen. 330 pages. £15-99.
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Wilfred Owen: A New Biography by Dominic Hibberd. Hardcover (2002). Builds on Jon Stallworthy's earlier work. This is a tremendous work of research, insight, and comprehensive understanding by the foremost authority on Wilfred Owen. Hardcover £25.
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|Wilfred Owen: A New Biography by Dominic Hibberd. Paperback.(2002). Builds on Jon Stallworthy's earlier work. This is a tremendous work of research, insight, and comprehensive understanding by the foremost authority on Wilfred Owen. Paperback, £12-99.
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Sassoon’s war poems
Biography of Sassoon
After a surprisingly long period of time the first full scale biography of Sassoon was published in hardback in 1998. Written by Jean Moorcroft Wilson it came out in two volumes. The one that will matter to most Sassoon war poetry readers is volume 1 which covers the years 1886 to 1918, Siegfried Sassoon, the making of a war poet, a biography, 1886-1918. It provides insight into Sassoon’s complex character, his very wealthy background and his life, friendships, thoughts and actions including his “wilful defiance of military authority” which resulted in Sassoon being detained in a psychiatric unit in Scotland . 600 pages. Available in paperback. Published by Duckworth £10-99.
Sassoon, Critical study
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Two collections of Edward Thomas's poems with notes.
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Biography of Edward Thomas
Under Storm's Wing (Paperback) Carcanet.
Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth is one of the outstanding biographies of the First World War. It tells the moving story of the heartbreak suffered by one young woman who saw, close-up, the horrors of the war as she worked in France as a nurse of German and British soldiers wounded in the war. Her best friend, her fiancé and her brother were all killed in the war.
At the end of the war she felt that the politicians who had promoted the war and who signed the peace treaty at the end had betrayed the trust placed in them by young people who suffered so much.
Vera Brittain's sequel, about the years following the war is Testament of Experience.
Vera Brittain DVD
Second World War
Geoffrey Scott Mowat was a Malayan Civil servant who became a volunteer. He survived four years of POW captivity. He dedicated the memorial plot for the Malayan Volunteer forces at the National Memorial Arboretum before he died in 2008. This is his story of life at the hands of the Japanese, his escape and survival.
The Casualties Were Small, by
Palestine Peace Not Apartheid - Jimmy Carter
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The cost of the war in Iraq
The Three Trillion Dollar War by Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes
Published by W. W. Norton (USA) 2008 Hardback. 192 pages
Joseph Stiglitz won the Nobel Prize for Economics in2001 and was Chief Economic Advisor the World Bank. Linda Bilmes is a professor at Harvard where she specialises in public policy, budgeting and public finance.
The book examines the full cost of the Iraq War, including many hidden costs such as the enormous expenditures that will be required to care for very large numbers of wounded veterans.
Numerous US government studies including that of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office have suggested costs approaching those estimated by these authors.
Available in paperback and hardback.
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Books for writers of war poetry - Links below details
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Books on how certain countries have BEHAVED IN RELATION TO international law
After the Second World War the US and UK were leaders in the establishment of international laws to prevent wars of aggression and to protect human rights. Unfortunately both countries have blatantly set aside international laws and subverted the United Nations to condone acts of aggression. I recommend two books (plus Behind the War on Terror, mentioned above) for insights into this topic.
Killing Hope - US and CIA Interventions since World War II
by William Blum. This gives, in considerable detail and from publicly available records, an account of the US Governments' behaviour around the world from China and North Korea in the 1940s to the bombing of Iraq in 2003.
Amazon link Lawless World - America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules by Philippe Sands. Web of Deceit by Mark Curtis
Lawless World - America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules by Philippe Sands.
Web of Deceit by Mark Curtis
One measure of this opposition to the UN is the number of occasions it has gone against the general will of the UN Security Council by using its power to veto decisions. Mark Curtis comments, "Open defiance of the UN is a permanent feature of British foreign policy. In the last twenty-five years of the cold war, 1965-19990, Britain cast twice as many vetoes in the Security Council as the Soviet Union - twenty-seven compared to thirteen, mainly to support the racist regimes in south Africa and Rhodesia." (P 10.)
Comment on Web of Deceit
"Scrupulously, relentlessly . . . rescues the historical and documentary record from a web of distortion and self-serving illusion." - Noam Chomsky.
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David Roberts, Editor, The War Poetry Website.