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A Passionate Prodigality (Hardback)

Fragments of Autobiography

Military > Biographies Military > Memoirs WWI > By Year > 1914 WWI > By Year > 1915 WWI > By Year > 1916 WWI > By Year > 1917 WWI > By Year > 1918

By Guy Chapman
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781526750112
Published: 3rd June 2019



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When A Passionate Prodigality was first published in 1933 it was hailed as one of the finest English works to have come out of the First World War. Today this memoir reads with a graphic immediacy, not merely in the descriptions of the filth and shock and carnage that characterized the struggle, but in its evocation of men at war, ‘certain soldiers who have now become a small quantity of Christian dust’.

Stylish, honest and eloquent, A Passionate Prodigality is ‘less a book than a living voice, demonstrating an important if little remembered truth: ‘The poetry is not in the pity. To hell with your generalized pity. What the survivor remembers is not the fears he knew, the pains, but the faces and a few words of the men who were with him at the front…’

"A Passionate Prodigality" is like one of those great paintings full of characters, like "The Night Watch" by Rembrandt, who deserve more views to fully appreciate their beauty, and with every glance they make you discover new details. The book in the same way deserves more reading to fully appreciate every nuance of what is a rich writing, full of pathos and details. A book that is a classic and that deserves to be in the library of every Great War buff.

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On The Old Barbed Wire

Overall this is a long-overdue reprint and another ‘must-read’ for those seeking to understand the war through the eyes of those who lived it.

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WW1 Geek

Editor's Choice

This memoir of his time at the front is well written and very vivid, and must rank among the best of the many personal stories that were told after the war.

A must-have. 10/10

The Great War Magazine, November 2019

Beautifully written personal account of a young officer in the trenches of the Western Front. Recommended.

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Paul Reed via Twitter

Chapman’s writing exudes authenticity and integrity.

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About Guy Chapman

Guy Chapman, OBE, MC, served with the 13th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers in France, Belgium and Germany from 1914 to 1920. Born in 1889, he died in 1972, having been a barrister, soldier, publisher, teacher, student of economics, professor of modern history and writer. His other books include studies of William Beckford, the French Third Republic, the collapse of France in 1940, Vain Glory (an anthology of writing about the Frist World War) and his autobiography A Kind of Survivor which was edited by his wife, the novelist Storm Jameson.

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