The Sword of HonourPaperback
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- Publisher: PENGUIN CLASSICS
- Format: Paperback | 736 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 198mm x 30mm | 422g
- Publication date: 1 May 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0141184973
- ISBN 13: 9780141184975
- Sales rank: 54,189
Waugh's own unhappy experience of being a soldier is superbly re-enacted in this story of Guy Crouchback, a Catholic and a gentleman, commissioned into the Royal Corps of Halberdiers during the war years 1939-45. High comedy - in the company of Brigadier Ritchie-Hook or the denizens of Bellamy's Club - is only part of the shambles of Crouchback's war. When action comes in Crete and in Yugoslavia, he discovers not heroism, but humanity. "Sword of Honour" combines three volumes: "Officers and Gentlemen", "Men at Arms" and "Unconditional Surrender", which were originally published separately. Extensively revised by Waugh, they were published as the one-volume "Sword of Honour" in 1965, in the form in which Waugh himself wished them to be read.
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Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) was born in London and educated at Oxford. He quickly established a reputation with such social satirical novels as DECLINE AND FALL, VILE BODIES and SCOOP. Waugh became a Catholic in 1930, and his later books display a more serious attitude, as seen in the religious theme of BRIDESHEAD REVISITED, a nostalgic evocation of student days at Oxford. His diaries were published in 1976, and his letters in 1980.
Both a "recension" (Waugh before his death excised some of the original material) as well as a one-volume publication of the World War II trilogy - Men at Arms (1952) Officers and Gentleman (1955) and Unconditional Surrender (1961) which Waugh thought of as "obituary of the Roman Catholic Church in England." Some critics, Malcolm Muggeridge for instance, considered this ironic, absurd, affecting (and autobiographical) portrait of a middle aged man at war his finest achievement. (Kirkus Reviews)