‘Never such innocence again’ wrote Philip Larkin of an unquestioning British people on the eve of the first world war, and much has been made, not unreasonably, of the trusting frame of mind in which young men of that time accepted the arguments for war in 1914.
As his battered bomber hurtled towards the Pacific in May 1943, Louis Zamperini thought to himself that no one was going to survive the crash.
First, a disclaimer: this review will not touch upon some recent, odd behaviour of this book’s author, Orlando Figes, because I can’t see that it’s relevant.
The craters are all filled in, the ruins replaced, and the last memories retold only in the whispery voices of the old.
The perception of war changes, remarked the poet Robert Graves, when ‘your Aunt Fanny, the firewatcher, is as likely to be killed as a soldier in battle’.
Undeniably the Hawker Hurricane has suffered the fate of the less pretty sister.
The Matterhorn, at 14,679 feet in the Alps, is said to be very difficult to climb.
Nobody who reads Nigel Farndale’s The Blasphemer is likely to complain about being short-changed.
Men of War: Courage under Fire in the 19th-century Navy, by David Crane
Americans in Paris, by Charles Glass