This is the introduction from Out in the Dark. The introduction to Minds at War is nine and a half pages long. You can get to an extract from that by clicking  What the War Poets Knew.

The First World War 
and the Poets

One of the greatest tragedies the world has ever experienced was the First World War. With absolute determination, nations dedicated every ounce of human talent, energy and resources to the destruction of human life. Millions were killed; millions were disabled by hideous wounds, mental breakdown, bereavement. Life was worsened throughout Europe and the effects were long-lasting. 
In the history of mankind war has been a rare and quite abnormal state of affairs, and when wars broke out in earlier centuries most were confined to quite small numbers of participants fighting for a few hours or days with simple weapons in small areas of land. 

The First World War announced the century of war. It was to be a century in which whole nations would suffer and support war and the destructive power developed by scientists would create death, misery and brutalisation, on a new and quite astonishing scale. The human race had moved into the era of scientific savagery. 
The poets played their part in this war as promoters of it, onlookers, soldiers and victims. What sets them apart is that the poets were those most gifted to express the experience of those shocking years. And their work includes some of the greatest poems in the English language.

What the War Poets Knew              Back to Main Index

Copyright © 1996, 1998, 1999 David Roberts, Saxon Books.
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