Some Desperate Glory: The World War I Diary of a British Officer, 1917

Edwin Campion Vaughn, Author, Robert Cowley, Introduction by, Edwin Campion Vaughan, Author Henry Holt & Company $19.95 (232p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0671-1
This stark WW I diary by a 19-year-old subaltern in the British army begins with an account of his eager departure for the western front, and ends eight months later with an awesome description of the battle of Ypres in which most of his company died. A snobbish, inept and generally insufferable youngster when he joined the frontline regiment, Vaughan was eventually humbled both by the tongue-lashings of superiors and by his ego-shattering experiences in the trenches. He is frank about his fear of death, which renders the material in the latter half of the diary all the more moving, for one discerns that Vaughan is gradually turning into a brave and capable leader of infantry. Some entries are punctuated by mad laughter while, at the same time, a tone of despair becomes more evident. The final line of the diary is no surprise: ""I sat on the floor and drank whisky after whisky as I gazed into a black and empty future.'' (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
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