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June 20 , 2007

Sword of Honour


Waugh�s own unhappy experience of being a soldier is superbly re-enacted in this story of Guy Crouchback, a Catholic and a gentleman, commissioned into the Royal Corps of Halberdiers during the war years 1939�45. High comedy � in the company of Brigadier Ritchie-Hook or the denizens of Bellamy�s Club � is only part of the shambles of Crouchback�s war. When action comes in Crete and in Yugoslavia, he discovers not heroism, but humanity.

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In his elegant, malicious prose, Evelyn Waugh satirizes British society as he saw it over three decades. From Work Suspended, where Plant, a writer of detective fiction, puts his incomplete novel in a drawer until such time as he can finish it (that is to say after the war), to Basil Seal Rides Again, in which the hero of Black Mischief…

Sword of Honour combines three volumes: Officers and Gentlemen, Men at Arms and Unconditional Surrender, which were originally published separately. Extensively revised by Waugh, they were published as the one-volume Sword of Honour in 1965, in the form in which Waugh himself wished them to be read.

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