A powerful and classic autobiographical novel. Nine men go Over theTop in mud and rain and darkness, urged on by an Authority invisible and remorseless somewhere behind the lines, to seek a Foe they‘re destined never to encounter. The men are tough lads of the bombing squad, nine human individuals, living and real persons, a little world of diverse characters merged into a Unit for the purposes of this excursion into No Man’s Land. One at a time they die, in terrible and futile ways. Still the bombing squad advances, floundering, towards the Foe, lost, hungry, over-exhausted; dully courageous, vague, stupefied: returning to the Brute … As the climax of this tremendous story is reached, the reader is gripped by a universal tragedy which goes beyond even the Great War to that final starkness and terror which only a genius can portray. Liam O’Flaherty served as a private in the Irish Guards and was wounded at Passchendaele, and he knew what he is writing about. This is a man’s book for all time: or for as long as men shall die together in comradeship, bravely and blindly.
RETURN OF THE BRUTE
The renowned writer served as a private in the Irish Guards and was wounded at Passchendaele. Of his powerful classic novel of the activities of a bombing squad on the Western Front, Cyril Falls said he “seems to have set himself out to out-German the Germans”, acknowledges him as an “able writer with a savage and bitter twist”.