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Under fire

by King

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One of the most influential of all war novels, Henri Barbusse’s La Feu appeared in 1916… and sold 200,000 copies in French. (History Today)

Book Description
Based on his own experience of the Great War, Henri Barbusse’s novel is a powerful account of one of the greatest horrors mankind has inflicted on itself. For the group of ordinary men in the French Sixth Battalion, thrown together from all over France and longing for home, war is simply a matter of survival, lightened only by the arrival of their rations or a glimpse of a pretty girl or a brief reprieve in the hospital. Reminiscent of classics like Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Under Fire (originally published in French as La Feu) vividly evokes life in the trenches—the mud, stench, and monotony of waiting while constantly fearing for one’s life in an infernal and seemingly eternal battlefield.

About the Author
Henri Barbusse (1873–1935) was a volunteer who fought in World War I, a noted pacifist, and later a communist. His novels include Clarte and The Knife Between the Teeth.

Robin Buss is the translator of Penguin Classics editions of works by Dumas and Zola. Jay Winter is professor of history at Yale University and the writer and co-producer of the Emmy Award–winning TV series The Great War.



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