Pat Barker captures the devastating effects of the First World War on those in the front lines. Her vivid and insightful descriptions of the suffering of the survivors and, in this volume, doctors in a military hospital treating their psychological scars, are deeply moving. The device of including real historical figures such as Siegfried Sassoon, Dr. William Rivers and Wilfrid Owen heightens the realism. The articulate internal and external debates about the morality of fighting a disastrous war with no clearly defined ultimate goal or competent strategy makes the story oh, so relevant to contemporary readers.
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