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Book Title: Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man|
The author of the book: Siegfried Sassoon
Edition: Faber Modern Classics
Date of issue: 2015
ISBN 13: 9780571322831
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 663 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.1
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George was born into a world of village cricket matches and fox-hunting, but his failing income and the onset of war threatens his way of life. A touching depiction of pre-First World War Britain, Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man is also a coming-of-age story which follows George from a shy and awkward childhood, through shiftless adolescence, to an officer just beginning to understand the horrors of trench warfare.
Written after Siegfried Sassoon's return from the First World War but looking back at happier times, Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man was published anonymously in 1928. Already established as a poet, this was Sassoon's first attempt at fiction - and Faber & Faber's first bestseller.
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Read information about the authorSiegfried Loraine Sassoon, CBE was born into a wealthy banking family, the middle of 3 brothers. His Anglican mother and Jewish father separated when he was five. He had little subsequent contact with ‘Pappy’, who died of TB 4 years later. He presented his mother with his first ‘volume’ at 11. Sassoon spent his youth hunting, cricketing, reading, and writing. He was home-schooled until the age of 14 because of ill health. At school he was academically mediocre and teased for being un-athletic, unusually old, and Jewish. He attended Clare College, Cambridge, but left without taking his degree. In 1911, Sassoon read ‘The Intermediate Sex’ by Edward Carpenter, a book about homosexuality which was a revelation for Sassoon. In 1913 he wrote ‘The Daffodil Murderer,’ a parody of a John Masefield poem and his only pre-war success. A patriotic man, he enlisted on 3rd August, the day before Britain entered the war, as a trooper in the Sussex Yeomanry. After a riding accident which put him out of action, in May 1915 he joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers as a second lieutenant. At the training depot he met David Thomas, with whom he fell in love.
In November Sassoon received word that his brother Hamo had died at Gallipoli. On 17th Nov he was shipped to France with David Thomas. He was assigned to C Company, First Battalion. It was here that he met Robert Graves, described in his diary as ‘a young poet in Third Battalion and very much disliked.’ He took part in working parties, but no combat. He later became transport officer and so managed to stay out of the front lines. After time on leave, on the 18th of May, 1916 he received word that David Thomas had died of a bullet to the throat. Both Graves and Sassoon were distraught, and in Siegfried’s case it inspired ‘the lust to kill.’ He abandoned transport duties and went out on patrols whenever possible, desperate to kill as many Germans as he could, earning him the nickname ‘Mad Jack.’ In April he was recommended for the Military Cross for his action in bringing in the dead and wounded after a raid. He received his medal on the day before the Somme. For the first days of the Somme, he was in reserve opposite Fricourt, watching the slaughter from a ridge. Fricourt was successfully taken, and on the 4th July the First Battalion moved up to the front line to attack Mametz Wood. It was here that he famously took a trench single handed. Unfortunately, Siegfried did nothing to consolidate the trench; he simply sat down and read a book, later returning to a berating from Graves. It was in 1917, convalescing in 'Blighty' from a wound, that he decided to make a stand against the war. Encouraged by pacifist friends, he ignored his orders to return to duty and issued a declaration against the war. The army refused to court martial him, sending him instead to Craiglockhart, an institution for soldiers driven mad by the war. Here he met and influenced Wilfred Owen. In 1918 he briefly returned to active service, in Palestine and then France again, but after being wounded by friendly fire he ended the war convalescing. He reached the rank of captain. After the war he made a predictably unhappy marriage and had a son, George. He continued to write, but will be remembered as a war poet.
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