This trilogy spanning World War II, based in part on Evelyn Waugh's own experiences as an army officer, is the author's surpassing achievement as a novelist. Its central character is Guy Crouchback, head of an ancient but decayed Catholic family, who at first discovers new purpose in the challenge to defend Christian values against Nazi barbarism, but then gradually finds the complexities and cruelties of war overwhelming. Though often somber, Sword of Honor is also a brilliant comedy, peopled by the fantastic figures so familiar from Waugh's early satires. The deepest pleasures these novels afford come from observing a great satiric writer employ his gifts with extraordinary subtlety, delicacy, and human feeling, for purposes that are ultimately anything but satiric. Sword of Honor comprises the three acclaimed novels Men at Arms, Officers and Gentlemen, and Unconditional Surrender.
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Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), whom Time called "one of the century's great masters of English prose," wrote several widely acclaimed novels as well as volumes of biography, memoir, travel writing, and journalism. Three of his novels, A Handful of Dust, Scoop, and Brideshead Revisited, were selected by the Modern Library as among the 100 best novels of the twentieth century.Review:
"Sword of Honour was the climax of Waugh's career as a novelist . . . Here in his final work there run together the two styles, of mischief and gravity, that can be noted in his writing from the beginning . . . He may justifiably have thought of it as crowning his work."―Frank Kermode
"Sword of Honor now clearly emerges as Mr. Waugh's main achievement to date, and the one piece of English fiction about World War II which is certain to survive."―Times Literary Supplement
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