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From one of our most beloved, original authors, a classic book never before published in the U.S.—a personal meditation on war and remembrance.
Geoff Dyer has won fans writing about everything from jazz to D.H. Lawrence, from photography to neurotic enlightenment, from Cambodia to Rome. The Missing of the Somme, his remarkable book on the signifi cance of the First World War, is a gem for Dyer fans and history buffs alike. With his characteristic wit and insight, here Dyer weaves a network of myth and memory, photos and film, poetry and sculptures, graveyards, and ceremonies that illuminate our understanding of, and relationship to, the Great War.
“A lyrical meditation on memory and the meaning of World War I. . . . [A] thoughtful and thought-provoking pilgrimage through the war’s bibliography and battlefields. . . . Illuminate[s] how thoroughly memory and history are interwoven with literature.” —The Wall Street Journal
“[A] strange and wonderful meditation on the cultural legacy of World War I. . . . The Missing of the Somme shows us that stark simplicity isn’t the only way to talk about war. . . . [It is] a lovely, alive work.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“The Missing of the Somme . . . looks back at the unfathomable destruction of [World War I] through the fogged, distorted lens of collective memory, which can only deteriorate further with the passing of time. . . . How do we bring ourselves to acknowledge such awful events? And what purpose do memorials really serve? They are, Dyer implies, inherently insufficient.” —The Boston Globe
“Fresh and often unsettling. . . . Sophisticated and nuanced. . . . Quirky but often brilliant. . . . The timing could not be more appropriate. . . . For Americans, as for Britons, memory of World War I is now entirely a matter of secondhand information. Only the films, books and monuments remain. Dyer poignantly and at times playfully examines the way these objects shape his countrymen’s mental picture of what happened between 1914 and 1918. . . . As [his] meditation on remembrance demonstrates, reminders of the past do have a life of their own, shaping and reshaping the vision of history we carry in our minds. . . . The Missing of the Somme will not disappoint [Dyer’s] fans.” —The Kansas City Star
“Dyer delights in producing books that are unique, like keys.” —James Wood, The New Yorker
“Brilliant. . . . The great Great War book of our time.” —The Observer (London)
“A gentle, patient, loving book. It is about mourning and memory, about how the Great War has been represented—and our sense of it shaped and defi ned—by different artistic media. . . . Its textures are the very rhythms of memory and consciousness.” —The Guardian (London)
“[An] instant classic. . . . Dyer supports his point with an impressive survey of poems, letters, memoirs, and novels, combined with a perceptive analysis of British war memorials, and utilizing extensive citations.” —Publishers Weekly