The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War, By Peter Englund
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014.
Saturday 01 September 2012
Englund lays out his perameters at the outset. This, he states, is a book not about how the Great War was but "what it was like."
What proceeds is far more radical, and emotional, than it sounds: lived history that makes no pretence at objectivity in which the reader follows 20 people, as disparate as a 12-year-old German schoolgirl and a Venezuelan cavalryman, from outbreak to end, tracing the small triumphs and quiet horrors of these extraordinary, ordinary people.
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