Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon: reviewed

This text is a fascinating document which was composed after the end of World War One. It hints at how one poet felt about a tragic conflict. It also indicates how isolating it was for those people who had doubts about the utility of the war.

Sassoon tried not to judge his unquestioning superiors. He attempted to relate to ordinary soldiers around him. He tried to be sympathetic with the ignorant people on the Home Front. But in the end, he was alone. A man with a stiff upper lip and a poetic sensibility, a brave witness to unnecessary carnage- he was alone.

Sassoon had a remarkable way with words. His proficiency with his pen made his text come alive. History books could not come close to his way of representing facts on the ground. And his wit outlived him. It can be remembered by his fondness for the old quote:

“I shall not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau
If birds confabulate or no.”

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