Good bye to All That An Autobiography PDF/EPUB á bye

Good bye to All That An Autobiography PDF/EPUB á bye


Good bye to All That An Autobiography ❴Epub❵ ➝ Good bye to All That An Autobiography Author Robert Graves – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Alternate cover edition of ISBN10 0140180982; ISBN13 9780140180985 The uintessential memoir of the generation of Englishmen who suffered in World War I is among the bitterest autobiographies ever writ Alternate cover edition of ISBN ; ISBN to All Epub Ù The uintessential memoir of the generation of Englishmen who suffered in World War I is among the bitterest autobiographies ever written Robert Graves's stripped to the bone prose seethes with contempt for his class his country his military superiors and the civilians who mindlessly cheered the carnage from the safety of home His portrait of the stupidity petty cruelties endemic in England's elite schools is almost as scathing as his depiction of trench warfare Nothing could eual Graves's bone chilling litany of meaningless death horrific encounters with Good bye Epub / gruesomely decaying corpses even appalling confrontations with the callousness arrogance of the military command Yet this scarifying book is consistently enthralling Graves is a superb storyteller there's clearly something liberating about burning all your bridges at his age when it was first published in He conveys that feeling of exhilaration to his readers in a pell mell rush of words that remains supremely lucid Better known as a poet historical novelist critic Graves in this one work seems like an English Hemingway paring his prose to the minimum and eschewing all editorializing because it bye to All PDF ☆ would bring him down to the level of the phrase and war mongers he despises Wendy Smith.

  • Paperback
  • 282 pages
  • Good bye to All That An Autobiography
  • Robert Graves
  • English
  • 06 February 2015

About the Author: Robert Graves

Robert von Ranke Graves born in Wimbledon to All Epub Ù received his early education at King's College School and Copthorne Prep School Wimbledon Charterhouse School and won a scholarship to St John's College Oxford While at Charterhouse in he fell in love with GH Johnstone a boy of fourteen Dick in Goodbye to All That When challenged by the headmaster he defended himself by citing Plato Gr.



10 thoughts on “Good bye to All That An Autobiography

  1. Warwick Warwick says:

    Robert Graves was one of those well educated British officers who reacted to the First World War with a kind of wise Oxford Book of Verse horror and had to expunge the experience as best he could through his writing – like Edmund Blunden or Siegfried Sassoon The three of them indeed fought near each other in France and knew each other well It's a powerful and affecting vision but it probably needs to be set against the rather different worldview of the private soldiers as captured in Manning's The Middle Parts of Fortune or Barbusse's Le FeuGraves is less funny than Sassoon down to earth than Blunden – he writes with a dry easy style which is witty but somehow also rather brittle As in many similar memoirs there is an awareness of the natural world which perhaps seems surprising to a modern reader ‘In March I rejoined the First Battalion on the Somme It was the primrose season’ though the tendency here is nowhere near as pronounced as in Blunden's Undertones of War There is a numbed sense of distance to many of the descriptions and a sneaking suspicion that Graves may perhaps not have been the easiest person to get on with in real life Nevertheless the details of trench life are very fully evoked from the boredom of waiting to the strategy less confusion of raids to the desperate recreations available for men behind the lineThe Red Lamp the army brothel was around the corner in the main street I had seen a ueue of a hundred and fifty men waiting outside the door each to have his short turn with one of the three women in the house Each woman served nearly a battalion of men every week for as long as she lasted According to the assistant provost marshal three weeks was the usual limit ‘after which she retired on her earnings pale but proud’When it comes to the gory realities of shelling and attrition Graves adopts a chilly but effective matter of factnessFrom the morning of September 24th to the night of October 3rd I had in all eight hours of sleep I kept myself awake and alive by drinking about a bottle of whisky a day I had never drunk it before and have seldom drunk it since; it certainly helped me then We had no blankets greatcoats or waterproof sheets nor any time or material to build new shelters The rain poured down Every night we went out to fetch in the dead of the other battalions The Germans continued indulgent and we had few casualties After the first day the corpses swelled and stank I vomited than once while superintending the carrying Those we could not get in from the German wire continued to swell until the wall of the stomach collapsed either naturally or when punctured by a bullet; a disgusting smell would float across The colour of the dead faces changed from white to yellow grey to red to purple to green to black to slimyAs with all of these First World War books there is no animosity towards the enemy whatsoever Graves's men shout friendly messages to the nearby Germans reserving most of their hatred for the French and have no concern whatever for the political currents that may be animating the conflict Nor is religion a factor; given the old saw about how there are ‘no atheists in foxholes’ I'm surprised Graves isn't uoted often since he says exactly the oppositeHardly one soldier in a hundred was inspired by religious feeling of even the crudest kind It would have been difficult to remain religious in the trenches even if one survived the irreligion of the training battalion at homeIn part this is what creates the enormous gulf that soldiers feel between themselves and those at home who are keyed up with patriotic and religious fervour and who see the fighting men as the embodiment of all these feelings when in fact they share none of them After the war Graves falls in love delightedly with Nancy Nicholson who as a feminist and socialist finds herself as set against conventional society as he now feels himself Her précis of Christianity – ‘God is a man so it must be all rot’ – was a huge relief to himNancy sounds indeed in common with many women of that generation completely fucking amazing She read the marriage vows for the first time on the morning of their wedding and was so horrified that she almost refused to go through with it – Graves's memory of the service is of ‘Nancy meeting me on the aisle in a blue check silk wedding dress utterly furious’ and ‘savagely muttering the responses’ during the ceremonyChampagne was another scarce commodity and the guests made a rush for the dozen bottles on the table Nancy said ‘Well I'm going to get something out of this wedding at any rate’ and grabbed a bottle After three or four glasses she went off and changed back into her land girl's costume of breeches and smockI love Nancy Robert Graves I'm less sure about but he is a joy to listen to – witty anecdotal and determined to bear witness to the collective stupidities that left half his generation dead in France You can see why he'd had enough of England They were lucky to have the use of him for as long as they did

  2. Paul Paul says:

    Another book in the series I am reading about WW1 It was interesting reading this in conjunction with A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor; I found Graves much less likeable than Fermor However this is a very powerful description of the war and life in the trenches; it also covers Graves’s life before the war and until 1929Graves was half German and half Irish and had a German middle name This meant he had a very difficult time at public school Charterhouse as war with Germany gradually became inevitable What saved Graves at Charterhouse was learning to box and one of the masters George Mallory later to die on Everest who came across as a good man and taught Graves to climb Graves joined the army at the beginning of the war and remained in it throughout in a variety of roles He was reckless at times; on holiday in Switzerland he decided it would be a good idea to ski down the skeleton bob run he survived and this showed at times in his approach to the war What Graves does excel at is describing army life in the trenches; the comradeship tensions the idiocy of senior officers which he describes in cutting detail the dangers the sualor and the immediate risk of death Forays into no man’s land encounters with the enemy and with dead and decomposing bodies; some of the accounts are horrific; yet one feels even then that Graves holds back a little What makes this account so good is Graves’s detachment He describes leading virtually suicidal missions in a workaday way He knew the generals were clueless The daily interactions with the other soldiers are fascinating Graves also describes the onset of “shell shock” and war weariness and this is also very interesting; the contrast between patriotism at home and the feeling of the insanity of it all which pervaded most of those at the frontGraves suffered his share of injuries and was seriously wounded at the Somme so badly that his family were sent a telegram announcing his death; he arrived in London shortly after the telegram Graves also describes the condition known as shellshock and very matter of factly describes his nightmares and psychological disturbances The lightness of touch and humour makes the description of the horrors even powerful Graves describes his interactions with other poets; Sassoon Owen Blunden amongst others which are always fascinating His interactions with medical boards and senior officers are also illuminating Graves’s detachment makes it difficult sometimes to locate him in all this and I suspect from his descriptions of his sufferings that this is a defence mechanismThe post war reflections are less powerful but a number of things stand out Graves married Nancy Nicholson daughter of the artist Sir William Nicholson She was a feminist who kept her own name and ensured their children had her name When they lived in Oxfordshire she used to cycle around the villages explaining contraception to the women it was still illegal at the time She was later a fabric designer She struck me as someone whose biography I would like to read When Robert and Nancy visited Thomas Hardy she mentioned that she had kept her own name expecting him to be scandalised However he thought it rather old fashioned as he recalled that when he was a boy many women did keep their own name on marriageThe other post war figure that stood out was T E Lawrence who met Graves at Oxford He was clearly damaged by his life experiences and avoided any physical closeness But he was a man of great principle; he wrote about his experiences in the war in two bestselling books He decided that he could not personally profit from the Arab revolt and ensured the royalties went to a variety of charities I was slightly ambivalent about Graves himself but this is a well written and informative account of great horrors and the pointlessness of war; and Graves is an excellent and gripping narrator

  3. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    The opposite of a love letter to Edwardian England a literary explanation in the form of a memoir of why the author abandoned he land of his birth in favour of Majorca despite the experiences of George Sand and Frederic Chopin in the Balearic IslandsThe book has a striking description of Robert von Rancke Graves' view spoiler a grand nephew of Leopold von Rancke on his mother's side hide spoiler

  4. ·Karen· ·Karen· says:

    In 1929 Robert Graves aged 33 went abroad resolved never to make England my home again; which explains the title However this autobiography does little to illuminate that decision in an epilogue he says that a conditioning in the Protestant morality of the English governing classes though ualified by mixed blood a rebellious nature and an overriding poetic obsession is not easily outgrown Nor is it easily escaped when writing about your own life one thing that does not feature is his inner emotional life which I daresay is only to be expected of a man who went through English public school in the early part of the 20th century and then the horror of the trenches in WW1His description of life after the War indicates how that experience refused to let him go the years between 1918 and 1926 when the story ends are narrated hurriedly and in a desultory fashion as if marriage and children and finding his feet as a poet and earning a living were somehow of little importance Which no doubt they wereHe does have a lovely sardonic habit of seeing himself in a sort of tableau what he calls caricature scenes which show a fine sense of the absurd As a portrait of an age it is interesting and moving too But very removed very distant

  5. David Sarkies David Sarkies says:

    A Poet at War19 December 2017 As I was wandering through Newtown in Sydney I came across a crate of books dumped at the side of the road Considering that the law states that if somebody throws something away then it ceases to by anybody's property which basically means that anybody can then make a claim to possess that object and also due to the fact that they appeared to have begun to be worn down by the elements I concluded that the owner of these books no longer wanted them So I decided to have a look through them and my eyes immediately fell upon this book There was a little niggling at the back of my mind that this was a book that I wanted to read and I was familiar with the author having read I Claudius and am still digging through my pile of books attempting to locate Claudius the God As it turned out I had read a review on Goodreads and had immediately became enamoured with the book and noting that it was Grave's autobiography grabbed me even Okay I'm actually not a big fan of autobiographies but then again when they basically consist of a bunch of books about actors politicians sports stars and musicians and are inevitably ghost written by somebody that can't actually write then I'm sure you will probably agree with me However every so often you come across a gem and that is an autobiography written by a really good writer – one of them was Surprised by Joy by CS Lewis and as I started reading this book I uickly came to conclude that this one was basically up there with the best of them However it isn't actually uite like what you would expect from an autobiography much in the same way that Lewis' isn't uite an autobiography and that is because they are writers and because they are writers then they really don't want to bog people down with the minute details of their lives such as what they like for breakfast and what bus they catch to work every morning This is probably why my friend used Ricky Ponting's autobiography as a door stop In many ways this was similar to Lewis' book where the first part of the book has a strong focus on life at the English public schools while the twenties seemed to be a token addendum However where Lewis' focus was on his own spiritual experiences Grave's focus is his time in World War One In fact Lewis doesn't say all that much about his time in the trenches but that isn't all that surprising considering a lot of people took years to get over it if they ever did This was actually the case with Graves and he even says that he was not completely over the horrors of the war until about 1928 which is why it took over ten years for him to write this book and by that time he was facing a breakdown in his marriage His original intention was simply to write a personal history of his experience in the war and in a way this goes above and beyond the myriad textbooks and second hand histories on the subject – here we feel as if we are in the trenches with Graves but we also shake our head at the stupidity of commanders and learn of the somewhat darker aspects of the war such as the suspected British atrocities and also how French women could make a packet working as prostitutes for about six months The thing is that Graves was an officer having reached the rank of captain but it was a rank that still had him sitting in the trenches Yet in a way he seemed to empathise with his men because he was there watching the industrial war machine turning hundreds of thousands of young men into dogmeat while the commanders sat behind the lines coming up with stupid schemes that simply would not work This is the thing with World War One – it was the classic definition of insanity – that is doing the same thing over and over again on the slim hope that the results might be come out differently This was basically fighting the war by bombarding the enemy positions with incalculable amounts of artillery and then sending troops over the top only to have them gunned down by the enemy Even when they had developed tanks this didn't necessarily change the war because they either got bogged or simply blown up by the enemy's artillery It also brought out the true horrors of the industrial age in that it simply seemed to be a machine that was designed to kill as many people as possible – in fact an entire generation was destroyed by the war and even if they survived physically they would still find themselves suffering PTSD for years afterwards One interesting thing that Graves brought up was how haunting it was back in England where the population was sheltered from the horrors and to protest against the war was considered insane or worse Yet there were many mothers who simply refused to believe that their children were dead while the children who ended up in the trenches pretty much knew that this was their life and it was pretty much going to be extinguished on the muddy fields of the Western Front The other interesting thing are the number of names that Graves seems to drop throughout the story For instance he was a good friend of Siegfried Sassoon a famous World War I poet who I initially though was German due to his first name We also meet Wilfred Owen whose poetry we studied in High School and he never made it out of the Western Front Among others include Aldous Huxley and he even spends a couple of days down in Dorset with Thomas Hardy where we learn that at this time he has basically grown out of writing novels which is something that I can relate too because looking back at what I wrote when I was younger I simply could not bring myself to even attempt to publish it because well it is basically rubbish Then again I shouldn't be surprised because like minds tend to stick together and that includes writers or at least the good ones Finally there is this idea of the Gentleman Basically England is a very class based society – well despite what people say but there has always been a divide between the haves and the haves not no matter where we are but as Lister pointed out in Red Dwarf in England members of the working class do not go into wine bars and members of the upper class or the gentlemen do not go into pubs This was particularly true in Graves' day and this is something he picked up uite young There were his friends and family and there were the servants who were clearly considered to be on a lower level than he was The upper class went to the public schools and there they learned to be gentlemen Yet the public school system was rather interesting in and of itself and they definitely did not sound like very nice places to spend your younger years The other thing unlike Lewis Graves had no problem telling us what went on whereas Lewis was a lot subtle Then again like Lewis it was clear that Graves simply didn't enjoy his time there though I am somewhat curious that out of all the writers that he encountered during his time in Oxford Lewis and Tolkien weren't included among them

  6. Nooilforpacifists Nooilforpacifists says:

    The human mind invariably seeks patterns And so reading WWI histories always has been frustrating because of the war's Brownian motion; the inability to discern any strategy at all So the great value of Graves's anti war memoir is that as a Captain in a Welch regiment he had no clue about and thus does not write about the larger strategy of the war He confines his pen to tactics and the tactics he observed are damning Lesson one btw is that the surest way to lose public support for war is to issue false communiues and casualty reportsYet somehow I was disappointed Not in the writing Graves is brilliant But the book doesn't live up to its famous title Why the author decided to chuck it all when he did seemed less related to the war and to his personal life There was no there there But a damn good read nonethelessSergeant Smith my second sergeant told me of the officer who had commanded the platoon before I did 'He was a nice gentleman Sir but very wild Just before the Rue du Bois show he says to me By the way Sergeant I'm going to get killed tomorrow I know that And I know that you're going to be all right So see to it that my kit goes back to my people You'll find their address in my pocket book You'll find five hundred francs there too Now remember this Sergeant Smith you keep a hundred francs yourself and divide up the rest among the chaps left He says Send my pocket book back with my other stuff Sergeant Smith but for God's sake burn my diary They mustn't see that I'm going to get it here He points to his forehead And that's how it was He got it through the forehead all right I sent the stuff back to his parents I divided up the money and I burned the diary'For Anglican regimental chaplains we had little respect If they had shown one tenth the courage endurance and other human ualities that the regimental doctors showed we agreed the British Expeditionary Force might well have started a religious revival But they had not being under orders to stay behind with the transport The colonel in one of battalion I served with got rid of four new Anglican chaplains in four months; finally he applied for a Roman Catholic alleging a change of faith in the men under his command For the Roman Catholic chaplains were not only permitted to visit posts of danger but definitely enjoined to be wherever the fighting was so that they could give extreme unction to the dying And we had never heard of one who failed to do all that was expected of him and Jovial Father Gleeson of the Munsters when all the officers were killed or wounded at the first battle of Ypres had stripped off his black badges and taking command of the survivors held the lineOne day I left the Mess to begin the afternoon's work on the drill ground and went past the place where bombing instruction went on A group of men stood around a table where various types of Bombs were set out for demonstration I heard a sudden crash A sergeant of the Royal Irish Rifles had been giving a little unofficial instruction before the proper instructor arrived He picked up a No 1 percussion grenade and said 'Now lads you've got to be careful here Remember that if you touch anything while you're swinging this chap it'll go off' To illustrate the point he rapped the grenade against the table edge It killed him and the man next to him and wounded twelve others or less severelyLytton Strachey was unfit but instead of allowing himself to be rejected by the doctors he preferred to appear before a military tribunal as a conscientious objector To the chairman's other stock uestion which had previously never failed to embarrass the claimant 'Tell me Mr Strachey what would you do if you saw a German soldier trying to violate your sister?' he replied with an air of noble virtue 'I would try to get between them'

  7. Jamie Jamie says:

    This is one of the great books to come out of the First World War It is usually categorized as a memoir but there is probably fiction in it than fact Graves was up front about this he wrote the book in just eleven weeks because he needed the money and admitted that he threw in every plot element he could think of that would help it sell For all that it transcends its genre because sometimes fiction reveals than fact By not restricting himself to just what he personally saw and heard he was able to add stories and anecdotes that bring the experience of war alive His descriptions of the trenches and the battles are laconic but do not spare the reader the madness and horrors of combat Similarly his descriptions of life out of the line are interesting and memorable especially the the senior officers who could not shake their pre war fixation with shined buttons and sharp salutes; faced with the imbecilities and petty harassment of the battalion mess an exasperated Graves says at one point “But all this is childish Is there a war on here or isn’t there?”Graves talks about the constant turnover of officers and men as they are killed wounded or taken sick In Siegried Sassoon’s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer he recalls being told that infantry battalions turned over their personnel every four months so that by the time a sick or wounded man returned it was all new faces This is borne out by the British Army’s statistics on what they called “wastage” an average of 7000 men per day lost to all causes Since the part of the Allied line held by British and Dominion troops nominally reuired 800000 infantrymen to hold at 7000 losses a day sure enough it would mean most men would be gone by the end of four months’ timeIt is one of the odd coincidences of the war that three of the best books to come out of it were written by men who served together and knew each other well In addition to Graves’ Good Bye to All That and Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer there is JC Dunn’s The War the Infantry Knew 1914 1919 What ties them all together was service in the Second Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers where Dunn was the battalion doctor for much of the war His book is officially a unit history but where many of those are dull or concerned with the unit’s reputation than with an accurate portrayal of events his is brilliantly written and is the best account a reader will find of the actual day to day lives of the soldiers in the British Army Each of the three books mentions the authors of the other two sometimes giving different perspectives on the same events Sassoon’s book was lightly fictionalized but the actual people were clearly recognizable to anyone who knew them In it Graves for instance is called David Cromlech and Dunn is Captain MunroThe fine introduction to this edition was written by Paul Fussell author of The Great War and Modern Memory which is considered by many myself included to be the essential starting point for anyone trying to understand the historical cultural and social factors than influenced how the men who fought the war experienced remembered and wrote about it Fussell was himself a combat veteran having served as a second lieutenant in the US Army in Europe in 1944 45 He writes that Graves was not popular with many of his fellow battalion officers he was a bit too forthright in his commentaries about Army life but was well liked by his soldiers Like all good officers he took seriously his responsibilities toward them and refused to play the role of petty martinet Good Bye to All That is well worth reading for anyone with an interest in World War I or for that matter anyone looking for insights into how men in any war respond mentally and physically to the stresses of combat

  8. Nigeyb Nigeyb says:

    It is as a document of World War One that this book really shines Robert Graves includes a wealth of little details that bring the day to day life of him and his regiment to life the gallows humour the values of the soldiers the disillusionment with the war and the staff and yet the loyalty to their officers the lice the food the other privations It's all there in this excellent memoir Robert Graves also captures the tragedy and waste of the conflict friends and fellow soldiers dying or getting wounded all the time Extraordinary luck means that Robert Graves beat the odds and manages to survive but not without injuries and many brushes with death Goodbye to All That was written in 1929 when Robert Graves was 33 years old Although primarily known as a memoir about Robert Graves' experience of World War One in which he served in the Royal Welch Fusiliers the book opens with his family background childhood and education before at the outbreak of World War One he enlists The book also details his life for the ten years after World War One Goodbye to All That is an amazing memoir For such a short volume Robert Graves packs in so much information and detail and the book really brings alive day to day trench life with all its attendant horrors boredom pettiness depravation camaraderie and humour Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what life was like in the trenches45

  9. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    It's 2014 and the centenary of World War One I heard a discussion about it the other day and one thing struck me The idea being suggested was that it would have been BETTER FOR EVERYONE if Germany had WON the First World War How about that I never thought of it before but the logic was compelling Germany's victory would have stifled Hitler's political career before it got going There would have been no Versailles treaty no reparations no financial catastrophe No NazisNo HolocaustNo World War TwoJust something to ponder during the year

  10. Kim Kim says:

    This is a good year to read about World War I and there's no shortage of new material out there for anyone interested in the subject However this is a work that has been around for a very long time since 1929 in fact Published when Graves was just thirty four he wrote in the prologue to the revised edition published in 1957 that the work was his bitter leave taking of England where he had recently broken a good many conventions It signalled Graves' departure for Spain where he lived for most of the remainder of his lifeA middle class public school boy with an Anglo Irish father and a German mother Robert Graves served in France during World War I as a lieutenant and then as a captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers The main part of the work provides a detailed description of trench warfare including accounts of the Battle of Loos and of the fighting during the first phase of the Battle of the Somme Graves also deals with his family history childhood education and early post war married lifeThere's a poetic sensibility to Graves' approach to his various subjects as well as unsentimentality and freuent humour However Graves is also both distant and elusive A reader has to work hard to discern how he really felt The picture that emerges is of a man very much of his time place and class with all that connotes Graves is not aways likeable and he isn't easy to get to know but what he writes is worth reading

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10 thoughts on “Good bye to All That An Autobiography

  1. Warwick Warwick says:

    Robert Graves was one of those well educated British officers who reacted to the First World War with a kind of wise Oxford Book of Verse horror and had to expunge the experience as best he could through his writing – like Edmund Blunden or Siegfried Sassoon The three of them indeed fought near each other in France and knew each other well It's a powerful and affecting vision but it probably needs to be set against the rather different worldview of the private soldiers as captured in Manning's The Middle Parts of Fortune or Barbusse's Le FeuGraves is less funny than Sassoon down to earth than Blunden – he writes with a dry easy style which is witty but somehow also rather brittle As in many similar memoirs there is an awareness of the natural world which perhaps seems surprising to a modern reader ‘In March I rejoined the First Battalion on the Somme It was the primrose season’ though the tendency here is nowhere near as pronounced as in Blunden's Undertones of War There is a numbed sense of distance to many of the descriptions and a sneaking suspicion that Graves may perhaps not have been the easiest person to get on with in real life Nevertheless the details of trench life are very fully evoked from the boredom of waiting to the strategy less confusion of raids to the desperate recreations available for men behind the lineThe Red Lamp the army brothel was around the corner in the main street I had seen a ueue of a hundred and fifty men waiting outside the door each to have his short turn with one of the three women in the house Each woman served nearly a battalion of men every week for as long as she lasted According to the assistant provost marshal three weeks was the usual limit ‘after which she retired on her earnings pale but proud’When it comes to the gory realities of shelling and attrition Graves adopts a chilly but effective matter of factnessFrom the morning of September 24th to the night of October 3rd I had in all eight hours of sleep I kept myself awake and alive by drinking about a bottle of whisky a day I had never drunk it before and have seldom drunk it since; it certainly helped me then We had no blankets greatcoats or waterproof sheets nor any time or material to build new shelters The rain poured down Every night we went out to fetch in the dead of the other battalions The Germans continued indulgent and we had few casualties After the first day the corpses swelled and stank I vomited than once while superintending the carrying Those we could not get in from the German wire continued to swell until the wall of the stomach collapsed either naturally or when punctured by a bullet; a disgusting smell would float across The colour of the dead faces changed from white to yellow grey to red to purple to green to black to slimyAs with all of these First World War books there is no animosity towards the enemy whatsoever Graves's men shout friendly messages to the nearby Germans reserving most of their hatred for the French and have no concern whatever for the political currents that may be animating the conflict Nor is religion a factor; given the old saw about how there are ‘no atheists in foxholes’ I'm surprised Graves isn't uoted often since he says exactly the oppositeHardly one soldier in a hundred was inspired by religious feeling of even the crudest kind It would have been difficult to remain religious in the trenches even if one survived the irreligion of the training battalion at homeIn part this is what creates the enormous gulf that soldiers feel between themselves and those at home who are keyed up with patriotic and religious fervour and who see the fighting men as the embodiment of all these feelings when in fact they share none of them After the war Graves falls in love delightedly with Nancy Nicholson who as a feminist and socialist finds herself as set against conventional society as he now feels himself Her précis of Christianity – ‘God is a man so it must be all rot’ – was a huge relief to himNancy sounds indeed in common with many women of that generation completely fucking amazing She read the marriage vows for the first time on the morning of their wedding and was so horrified that she almost refused to go through with it – Graves's memory of the service is of ‘Nancy meeting me on the aisle in a blue check silk wedding dress utterly furious’ and ‘savagely muttering the responses’ during the ceremonyChampagne was another scarce commodity and the guests made a rush for the dozen bottles on the table Nancy said ‘Well I'm going to get something out of this wedding at any rate’ and grabbed a bottle After three or four glasses she went off and changed back into her land girl's costume of breeches and smockI love Nancy Robert Graves I'm less sure about but he is a joy to listen to – witty anecdotal and determined to bear witness to the collective stupidities that left half his generation dead in France You can see why he'd had enough of England They were lucky to have the use of him for as long as they did

  2. Paul Paul says:

    Another book in the series I am reading about WW1 It was interesting reading this in conjunction with A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor; I found Graves much less likeable than Fermor However this is a very powerful description of the war and life in the trenches; it also covers Graves’s life before the war and until 1929Graves was half German and half Irish and had a German middle name This meant he had a very difficult time at public school Charterhouse as war with Germany gradually became inevitable What saved Graves at Charterhouse was learning to box and one of the masters George Mallory later to die on Everest who came across as a good man and taught Graves to climb Graves joined the army at the beginning of the war and remained in it throughout in a variety of roles He was reckless at times; on holiday in Switzerland he decided it would be a good idea to ski down the skeleton bob run he survived and this showed at times in his approach to the war What Graves does excel at is describing army life in the trenches; the comradeship tensions the idiocy of senior officers which he describes in cutting detail the dangers the sualor and the immediate risk of death Forays into no man’s land encounters with the enemy and with dead and decomposing bodies; some of the accounts are horrific; yet one feels even then that Graves holds back a little What makes this account so good is Graves’s detachment He describes leading virtually suicidal missions in a workaday way He knew the generals were clueless The daily interactions with the other soldiers are fascinating Graves also describes the onset of “shell shock” and war weariness and this is also very interesting; the contrast between patriotism at home and the feeling of the insanity of it all which pervaded most of those at the frontGraves suffered his share of injuries and was seriously wounded at the Somme so badly that his family were sent a telegram announcing his death; he arrived in London shortly after the telegram Graves also describes the condition known as shellshock and very matter of factly describes his nightmares and psychological disturbances The lightness of touch and humour makes the description of the horrors even powerful Graves describes his interactions with other poets; Sassoon Owen Blunden amongst others which are always fascinating His interactions with medical boards and senior officers are also illuminating Graves’s detachment makes it difficult sometimes to locate him in all this and I suspect from his descriptions of his sufferings that this is a defence mechanismThe post war reflections are less powerful but a number of things stand out Graves married Nancy Nicholson daughter of the artist Sir William Nicholson She was a feminist who kept her own name and ensured their children had her name When they lived in Oxfordshire she used to cycle around the villages explaining contraception to the women it was still illegal at the time She was later a fabric designer She struck me as someone whose biography I would like to read When Robert and Nancy visited Thomas Hardy she mentioned that she had kept her own name expecting him to be scandalised However he thought it rather old fashioned as he recalled that when he was a boy many women did keep their own name on marriageThe other post war figure that stood out was T E Lawrence who met Graves at Oxford He was clearly damaged by his life experiences and avoided any physical closeness But he was a man of great principle; he wrote about his experiences in the war in two bestselling books He decided that he could not personally profit from the Arab revolt and ensured the royalties went to a variety of charities I was slightly ambivalent about Graves himself but this is a well written and informative account of great horrors and the pointlessness of war; and Graves is an excellent and gripping narrator

  3. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    The opposite of a love letter to Edwardian England a literary explanation in the form of a memoir of why the author abandoned he land of his birth in favour of Majorca despite the experiences of George Sand and Frederic Chopin in the Balearic IslandsThe book has a striking description of Robert von Rancke Graves' view spoiler a grand nephew of Leopold von Rancke on his mother's side hide spoiler

  4. ·Karen· ·Karen· says:

    In 1929 Robert Graves aged 33 went abroad resolved never to make England my home again; which explains the title However this autobiography does little to illuminate that decision in an epilogue he says that a conditioning in the Protestant morality of the English governing classes though ualified by mixed blood a rebellious nature and an overriding poetic obsession is not easily outgrown Nor is it easily escaped when writing about your own life one thing that does not feature is his inner emotional life which I daresay is only to be expected of a man who went through English public school in the early part of the 20th century and then the horror of the trenches in WW1His description of life after the War indicates how that experience refused to let him go the years between 1918 and 1926 when the story ends are narrated hurriedly and in a desultory fashion as if marriage and children and finding his feet as a poet and earning a living were somehow of little importance Which no doubt they wereHe does have a lovely sardonic habit of seeing himself in a sort of tableau what he calls caricature scenes which show a fine sense of the absurd As a portrait of an age it is interesting and moving too But very removed very distant

  5. David Sarkies David Sarkies says:

    A Poet at War19 December 2017 As I was wandering through Newtown in Sydney I came across a crate of books dumped at the side of the road Considering that the law states that if somebody throws something away then it ceases to by anybody's property which basically means that anybody can then make a claim to possess that object and also due to the fact that they appeared to have begun to be worn down by the elements I concluded that the owner of these books no longer wanted them So I decided to have a look through them and my eyes immediately fell upon this book There was a little niggling at the back of my mind that this was a book that I wanted to read and I was familiar with the author having read I Claudius and am still digging through my pile of books attempting to locate Claudius the God As it turned out I had read a review on Goodreads and had immediately became enamoured with the book and noting that it was Grave's autobiography grabbed me even Okay I'm actually not a big fan of autobiographies but then again when they basically consist of a bunch of books about actors politicians sports stars and musicians and are inevitably ghost written by somebody that can't actually write then I'm sure you will probably agree with me However every so often you come across a gem and that is an autobiography written by a really good writer – one of them was Surprised by Joy by CS Lewis and as I started reading this book I uickly came to conclude that this one was basically up there with the best of them However it isn't actually uite like what you would expect from an autobiography much in the same way that Lewis' isn't uite an autobiography and that is because they are writers and because they are writers then they really don't want to bog people down with the minute details of their lives such as what they like for breakfast and what bus they catch to work every morning This is probably why my friend used Ricky Ponting's autobiography as a door stop In many ways this was similar to Lewis' book where the first part of the book has a strong focus on life at the English public schools while the twenties seemed to be a token addendum However where Lewis' focus was on his own spiritual experiences Grave's focus is his time in World War One In fact Lewis doesn't say all that much about his time in the trenches but that isn't all that surprising considering a lot of people took years to get over it if they ever did This was actually the case with Graves and he even says that he was not completely over the horrors of the war until about 1928 which is why it took over ten years for him to write this book and by that time he was facing a breakdown in his marriage His original intention was simply to write a personal history of his experience in the war and in a way this goes above and beyond the myriad textbooks and second hand histories on the subject – here we feel as if we are in the trenches with Graves but we also shake our head at the stupidity of commanders and learn of the somewhat darker aspects of the war such as the suspected British atrocities and also how French women could make a packet working as prostitutes for about six months The thing is that Graves was an officer having reached the rank of captain but it was a rank that still had him sitting in the trenches Yet in a way he seemed to empathise with his men because he was there watching the industrial war machine turning hundreds of thousands of young men into dogmeat while the commanders sat behind the lines coming up with stupid schemes that simply would not work This is the thing with World War One – it was the classic definition of insanity – that is doing the same thing over and over again on the slim hope that the results might be come out differently This was basically fighting the war by bombarding the enemy positions with incalculable amounts of artillery and then sending troops over the top only to have them gunned down by the enemy Even when they had developed tanks this didn't necessarily change the war because they either got bogged or simply blown up by the enemy's artillery It also brought out the true horrors of the industrial age in that it simply seemed to be a machine that was designed to kill as many people as possible – in fact an entire generation was destroyed by the war and even if they survived physically they would still find themselves suffering PTSD for years afterwards One interesting thing that Graves brought up was how haunting it was back in England where the population was sheltered from the horrors and to protest against the war was considered insane or worse Yet there were many mothers who simply refused to believe that their children were dead while the children who ended up in the trenches pretty much knew that this was their life and it was pretty much going to be extinguished on the muddy fields of the Western Front The other interesting thing are the number of names that Graves seems to drop throughout the story For instance he was a good friend of Siegfried Sassoon a famous World War I poet who I initially though was German due to his first name We also meet Wilfred Owen whose poetry we studied in High School and he never made it out of the Western Front Among others include Aldous Huxley and he even spends a couple of days down in Dorset with Thomas Hardy where we learn that at this time he has basically grown out of writing novels which is something that I can relate too because looking back at what I wrote when I was younger I simply could not bring myself to even attempt to publish it because well it is basically rubbish Then again I shouldn't be surprised because like minds tend to stick together and that includes writers or at least the good ones Finally there is this idea of the Gentleman Basically England is a very class based society – well despite what people say but there has always been a divide between the haves and the haves not no matter where we are but as Lister pointed out in Red Dwarf in England members of the working class do not go into wine bars and members of the upper class or the gentlemen do not go into pubs This was particularly true in Graves' day and this is something he picked up uite young There were his friends and family and there were the servants who were clearly considered to be on a lower level than he was The upper class went to the public schools and there they learned to be gentlemen Yet the public school system was rather interesting in and of itself and they definitely did not sound like very nice places to spend your younger years The other thing unlike Lewis Graves had no problem telling us what went on whereas Lewis was a lot subtle Then again like Lewis it was clear that Graves simply didn't enjoy his time there though I am somewhat curious that out of all the writers that he encountered during his time in Oxford Lewis and Tolkien weren't included among them

  6. Nooilforpacifists Nooilforpacifists says:

    The human mind invariably seeks patterns And so reading WWI histories always has been frustrating because of the war's Brownian motion; the inability to discern any strategy at all So the great value of Graves's anti war memoir is that as a Captain in a Welch regiment he had no clue about and thus does not write about the larger strategy of the war He confines his pen to tactics and the tactics he observed are damning Lesson one btw is that the surest way to lose public support for war is to issue false communiues and casualty reportsYet somehow I was disappointed Not in the writing Graves is brilliant But the book doesn't live up to its famous title Why the author decided to chuck it all when he did seemed less related to the war and to his personal life There was no there there But a damn good read nonethelessSergeant Smith my second sergeant told me of the officer who had commanded the platoon before I did 'He was a nice gentleman Sir but very wild Just before the Rue du Bois show he says to me By the way Sergeant I'm going to get killed tomorrow I know that And I know that you're going to be all right So see to it that my kit goes back to my people You'll find their address in my pocket book You'll find five hundred francs there too Now remember this Sergeant Smith you keep a hundred francs yourself and divide up the rest among the chaps left He says Send my pocket book back with my other stuff Sergeant Smith but for God's sake burn my diary They mustn't see that I'm going to get it here He points to his forehead And that's how it was He got it through the forehead all right I sent the stuff back to his parents I divided up the money and I burned the diary'For Anglican regimental chaplains we had little respect If they had shown one tenth the courage endurance and other human ualities that the regimental doctors showed we agreed the British Expeditionary Force might well have started a religious revival But they had not being under orders to stay behind with the transport The colonel in one of battalion I served with got rid of four new Anglican chaplains in four months; finally he applied for a Roman Catholic alleging a change of faith in the men under his command For the Roman Catholic chaplains were not only permitted to visit posts of danger but definitely enjoined to be wherever the fighting was so that they could give extreme unction to the dying And we had never heard of one who failed to do all that was expected of him and Jovial Father Gleeson of the Munsters when all the officers were killed or wounded at the first battle of Ypres had stripped off his black badges and taking command of the survivors held the lineOne day I left the Mess to begin the afternoon's work on the drill ground and went past the place where bombing instruction went on A group of men stood around a table where various types of Bombs were set out for demonstration I heard a sudden crash A sergeant of the Royal Irish Rifles had been giving a little unofficial instruction before the proper instructor arrived He picked up a No 1 percussion grenade and said 'Now lads you've got to be careful here Remember that if you touch anything while you're swinging this chap it'll go off' To illustrate the point he rapped the grenade against the table edge It killed him and the man next to him and wounded twelve others or less severelyLytton Strachey was unfit but instead of allowing himself to be rejected by the doctors he preferred to appear before a military tribunal as a conscientious objector To the chairman's other stock uestion which had previously never failed to embarrass the claimant 'Tell me Mr Strachey what would you do if you saw a German soldier trying to violate your sister?' he replied with an air of noble virtue 'I would try to get between them'

  7. Jamie Jamie says:

    This is one of the great books to come out of the First World War It is usually categorized as a memoir but there is probably fiction in it than fact Graves was up front about this he wrote the book in just eleven weeks because he needed the money and admitted that he threw in every plot element he could think of that would help it sell For all that it transcends its genre because sometimes fiction reveals than fact By not restricting himself to just what he personally saw and heard he was able to add stories and anecdotes that bring the experience of war alive His descriptions of the trenches and the battles are laconic but do not spare the reader the madness and horrors of combat Similarly his descriptions of life out of the line are interesting and memorable especially the the senior officers who could not shake their pre war fixation with shined buttons and sharp salutes; faced with the imbecilities and petty harassment of the battalion mess an exasperated Graves says at one point “But all this is childish Is there a war on here or isn’t there?”Graves talks about the constant turnover of officers and men as they are killed wounded or taken sick In Siegried Sassoon’s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer he recalls being told that infantry battalions turned over their personnel every four months so that by the time a sick or wounded man returned it was all new faces This is borne out by the British Army’s statistics on what they called “wastage” an average of 7000 men per day lost to all causes Since the part of the Allied line held by British and Dominion troops nominally reuired 800000 infantrymen to hold at 7000 losses a day sure enough it would mean most men would be gone by the end of four months’ timeIt is one of the odd coincidences of the war that three of the best books to come out of it were written by men who served together and knew each other well In addition to Graves’ Good Bye to All That and Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer there is JC Dunn’s The War the Infantry Knew 1914 1919 What ties them all together was service in the Second Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers where Dunn was the battalion doctor for much of the war His book is officially a unit history but where many of those are dull or concerned with the unit’s reputation than with an accurate portrayal of events his is brilliantly written and is the best account a reader will find of the actual day to day lives of the soldiers in the British Army Each of the three books mentions the authors of the other two sometimes giving different perspectives on the same events Sassoon’s book was lightly fictionalized but the actual people were clearly recognizable to anyone who knew them In it Graves for instance is called David Cromlech and Dunn is Captain MunroThe fine introduction to this edition was written by Paul Fussell author of The Great War and Modern Memory which is considered by many myself included to be the essential starting point for anyone trying to understand the historical cultural and social factors than influenced how the men who fought the war experienced remembered and wrote about it Fussell was himself a combat veteran having served as a second lieutenant in the US Army in Europe in 1944 45 He writes that Graves was not popular with many of his fellow battalion officers he was a bit too forthright in his commentaries about Army life but was well liked by his soldiers Like all good officers he took seriously his responsibilities toward them and refused to play the role of petty martinet Good Bye to All That is well worth reading for anyone with an interest in World War I or for that matter anyone looking for insights into how men in any war respond mentally and physically to the stresses of combat

  8. Nigeyb Nigeyb says:

    It is as a document of World War One that this book really shines Robert Graves includes a wealth of little details that bring the day to day life of him and his regiment to life the gallows humour the values of the soldiers the disillusionment with the war and the staff and yet the loyalty to their officers the lice the food the other privations It's all there in this excellent memoir Robert Graves also captures the tragedy and waste of the conflict friends and fellow soldiers dying or getting wounded all the time Extraordinary luck means that Robert Graves beat the odds and manages to survive but not without injuries and many brushes with death Goodbye to All That was written in 1929 when Robert Graves was 33 years old Although primarily known as a memoir about Robert Graves' experience of World War One in which he served in the Royal Welch Fusiliers the book opens with his family background childhood and education before at the outbreak of World War One he enlists The book also details his life for the ten years after World War One Goodbye to All That is an amazing memoir For such a short volume Robert Graves packs in so much information and detail and the book really brings alive day to day trench life with all its attendant horrors boredom pettiness depravation camaraderie and humour Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what life was like in the trenches45

  9. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    It's 2014 and the centenary of World War One I heard a discussion about it the other day and one thing struck me The idea being suggested was that it would have been BETTER FOR EVERYONE if Germany had WON the First World War How about that I never thought of it before but the logic was compelling Germany's victory would have stifled Hitler's political career before it got going There would have been no Versailles treaty no reparations no financial catastrophe No NazisNo HolocaustNo World War TwoJust something to ponder during the year

  10. Kim Kim says:

    This is a good year to read about World War I and there's no shortage of new material out there for anyone interested in the subject However this is a work that has been around for a very long time since 1929 in fact Published when Graves was just thirty four he wrote in the prologue to the revised edition published in 1957 that the work was his bitter leave taking of England where he had recently broken a good many conventions It signalled Graves' departure for Spain where he lived for most of the remainder of his lifeA middle class public school boy with an Anglo Irish father and a German mother Robert Graves served in France during World War I as a lieutenant and then as a captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers The main part of the work provides a detailed description of trench warfare including accounts of the Battle of Loos and of the fighting during the first phase of the Battle of the Somme Graves also deals with his family history childhood education and early post war married lifeThere's a poetic sensibility to Graves' approach to his various subjects as well as unsentimentality and freuent humour However Graves is also both distant and elusive A reader has to work hard to discern how he really felt The picture that emerges is of a man very much of his time place and class with all that connotes Graves is not aways likeable and he isn't easy to get to know but what he writes is worth reading

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