Letter: A great British war novelist

Click to follow
The Independent Online
From Mr Alex Revell

Sir: In his review of The Flower of Battle (Books, 18 November), Mark Bostridge commented: "Britain didn't produce a war novelist of the stature of Remarque, and it is perhaps regrettable that what is without doubt the greatest British novel of the war, Frederic Manning's The Middle Parts of Fortune, receives only a passing mention."

While agreeing that the Manning book is superb, I cannot agree that Britain did not produce a war novelist to match Remarque. Winged Victory by V. M. Yeates is the equal, if not superior, to both the Manning and Remarque books. Like them, and Sassoon's Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, it is autobiographical fiction and is a masterpiece of evocative writing. The subject is the air war of 1918 - Yeates was a fighter pilot - and many pilots of that war have commented to me: "That's exactly how it was." With Yeates's early death Britain lost a great novelist.

Yours faithfully,

Alex Revell



20 November