Friday, 29 April 2011

FACTUAL REVIEW: The Red Sweet Wine of Youth: The Brave and Brief Lives of the War Poets - Nicholas Murray

Release Date: 03/02/11


The poetry that emerged from the trenches of WWI is a remarkable body of work, at once political manifesto and literary beacon for the twentieth century. In this passionate recreation of the lives of the greatest poets to come out of the conflict, Nicholas Murray brilliantly reveals the men themselves as well as the struggle of the artist to live fully and to bear witness in the annihilating squalor of battle. Bringing into sharp focus the human detail of each life, using journals, letters and literary archives, Murray brings to life the men's indissoluble comradeship, their complex sexual mores and their extraordinary courage. Poignant, vivid and unfailingly intelligent, Nicholas Murray's study offers new and finely tuned insight into the - often devastatingly brief - lives of a remarkable generation of men.


When I was originally introduced to War Poetry it was a subject that soon became dear to my heart, I loved the brutal reality and to hear the words of men who lived and died in the First World War getting their point across to a reader many years into the future as they struggled for sanity amid a world gone mad.

Whilst I can recall quite a lot about a number of their poems I really didin’t get to know them that well as human beings, so when this title by Nicholas Murray landed it was both a blessing and a relief that I could finally get an idea as to what drove not only these men but also an idea as to the world that they came from. It’s beautifully told, the fallen have been brought back for the modern reader and it’s a title that will be treasured for a long time on my shelving. Finally add to this an authoritive voice that will appeal to both fans of English Literature and those of history and it’s a cross genre title that will help flesh out one of the most inhumane times in recent history.

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