The honesty with which he wrote about the horror, the boredom, and the futility of war inspired Ernest Hemingway to read the novel every year, 'to remember how things really were so that I will never lie to myself nor to anyone else about them.
'They can say what they bloody well like, but we're a fuckin' fine mob.'
Deep in the mud, stench of the Somme, Bourne is trying his best to stay alive. There he finds the intense fraternity of war and fear unlike anything he has ever known.
Frederic Manning's novel was first published anonymously in 1929. The honesty with which he wrote about the horror, the boredom, and the futility of war inspired Ernest Hemingway to read the novel every year, 'to remember how things really were so that I will never lie to myself nor to anyone else about them.
Frederic Manning was born in Sydney in 1882. As a teenager he went with his tutor to England, where he eventually settled for most of his adult life. Manning began his career as a writer and poet in Britain with a narrative poem, Vigil of Brunhild (1907), Poems (1910) and Scenes and Portraits (1909), a collection of short historical fiction. His work won him considerable attention and acclaim. He was also the principal reviewer for the Spectator and forged a wide circle of literary friends and acquaintances. When the First World War broke out Manning failed to pass officer training but enlisted anyway and was sent to France in 1916, where he fought in the Battle of the Somme and was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. In 1929 he published The Middle Parts of Fortune under the pseudonym Private 19022, due to the book's shocking content. The book was highly praised by his contemporaries. Manning died in Hampstead in 1935.
"It is the finest and noblest book of men in war that I have ever read. I read it over once each year to remember how things really were so that I will never lie to myself nor to anyone else about them" -- Ernest Hemingway "The most truthful and profound exploration of the experiences of war...is to be found in The Middle Parts Of Fortune... Manning explored the moral ambiguities of war in the language of the men with whom he served. He articulated the suffering and comradeship of men who might have no other literary record" Guardian "Realism and art combined" Sydney Morning Herald "Manning's literary masterpiece" Sydney Morning Herald "Without doubt the greatest British novel of the war" Independent
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