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Jeremy's War

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541 pages7 hours

Summary

This novel, written by a long time open cockpit biplane pilot and World War One History buff, explores the extreme physical and mental burdens placed casually on the shoulders of brave young men. The Continent's finest marched boldly off to war, to the enthusiastic cheers of patriotic crowds. Brass bands played stirring patriotic music. Distinguished old men made fine speeches. Many thought they would all be home by Christmas. In many ways, the generation that was sent off to the blood and hell of the Marne, the Somme, Ypres and Cambrai, was remarkably well-read and sophisticated. The men who went over the top, facing industrial scale, mechanized death, were brave and patriotic individuals. What led such men to such shabby killing fields? What were the thoughts that occupied the minds of those who saw almost daily absurdity? Behind the stiff upper lip, the almost aristocratic dissimulation in the face of slaughter, what were the innermost thoughts and feelings of those who lived through this hell?
In Jeremy's War we get into the mind of such a wondering young man, desperately well intentioned, and casually tossed to the hungry wolves. This is not some colourful, make-believe fairy tale featuring heroic, fearless men and beautiful, ever faithful women. On the contrary, we read not just about spectacular flying battles, aces swirling around one another in the eternal sky, but we also read of doubts and fear, of loneliness and bewilderment. We read of death and betrayal, cruelty and hypocrisy.
The stunning cloud-flying sequences, transporting us up into a cold and solitary cockpit surrounded by unspeakable danger, are measured by the quiet despair of a broken man, lying alone and forgotten in a filthy room. The final ray of light, unexpected, yet deeply compassionate, leaves us with this reflection: Man is a survivor, despite all the odds. Despite all the lies and the falsity, the bunkum and the humbug, there also walk upon this troubled planet, softly, the gentle and the good. In this troubled world, the quiet heroes are still Man's best hope. Those who seek no glory. But who love, faithfully, and unceasingly.

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