From Journey’s End to The Dam Busters (Kindle)
The Life of R.C. Sherriff, Playwright of the Trenches
Kingston playwright R.C. Sherriff came to fame with his First World War drama Journey’s End, which was based on his own experiences as a young officer on the Western Front. Its success made him a household name and opened the door to a highly lucrative career as a novelist, playwright and screenwriter in Hollywood and in Britain.
Many of his movies – The Invisible Man, Goodbye Mr Chips, The Four Feathers, Odd Man Out, Quartet, and, of course, The Dam Busters – are still well known, but the man behind them much less so. This book rediscovers Sherriff using his own words – his letters, diaries, published and unpublished manuscripts – to shed light on a man who ironically gained his greatest success from the trench warfare he found so difficult to bear.
This excellent book deals with Sherriff the soldier in the first instance before progressing to his successful career as a playwright, author and screenwriter... To my mind this helps advance the book into the short list of superior reads from the Great War centenary blitz that will soon come to a thankful end.War History Online
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As featured inThe Telegraph 05/04/18
As featured inessence (Surrey), March 2018
From Journey's End to the Dambusters is a fine and important account of a hugely successful career which grew from a singular man's experience of war.Stand To! Western Front Assc No.110
Roland Wale's book is a fine record of a fascinating man.
A meticulously researched, factual and entertaining read. Shows R C Sherriff in a totally new light - it gives far more depth to him as a playwright, author and man. I love the way it show both the successes and failures too. A "must" for anyone interested in R C Sherriff!Amazon Reviewer
Superb account of a very good writer best known for one play but whose achievements were many and varied. Exhaustively researched, well written, a real delight. It looks at his unproduced scripts as well. I loved this.Amazon Reviewer US
The book developed as it progressed into a really insightful analysis of Sherriff's work and motivations. Starting as almost a detective story of his early life and career- obscured by his autobiography in part - it moved onto a description of his literary biography before finally examining the pressures on a writer who became unfashionable before he ran out of creative intent. Compelling picture of the man.Amazon Reviewer
The play Journey's End was performed everywhere during the inter-war years but there was much more to the author than that, and you can read all about him in this welcome new biography.This England, Spring 2017
As featured on Dove Grey Reader.Dovgreyreader Scribbles
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. A thoroughly researched and clearly written account of one of the finest playwrights and screenwriters of the 20th Century. The insight Wales brings to Sherriff's life is long overdue, the life itself fascinating and the story of that life told in eminently readable form. It deserves to be widely read.TomT, Amazon Reviewer
Roland Wales clearly has great affection for his subject, as he charts R C Sherriff’s life and career as a successful writer; principally of plays, film scripts and novels. However, it is not an uncritical appreciation. Wales’ meticulous research puts Sherriff in clear context with the events around him and how they in turn influenced and were reflected in his actions, even when Sherriff’s own autobiography often chose to go with a good story when the truth was at odds with his own preferred plot. But Wales has taken a lead from Sherriff’s own ability to entertain, in creating a fascinating record of a man who found early celebrity status through his smash hit play “Journey’s End” but never really fully fitted into Hollywood’s celebrity lifestyle. R C Sherriff’s legacy lives on, not only in the body of his work but in the funding his legacy provides for sports and arts in the area around Kingston Upon Thames. It is a story well told and worth reading. Recommended.ThamesAngle, Amazon Reviewer
As featured inWoking News & Mail
A comprehensive account of the life of R C Sherriff, junior officerFiretrench
and famous writer. One of the WWI survivors who made a lucrative career as a novelist, playwright and screenwriter. His movie work is still very well known but not the man. This book provides a full picture – great read.
Read the full review here.
As reviewed inEssence Magazine
As featured inExploring Surrey's Past
As featured in.The Times
As featured in.The Daily Mail