And We Go On: A Memoir of the Great War by Will R. BirdIn the autumn of 1915 Will Bird was working on a farm in Saskatchewan when the ghost of his brother Stephen, killed by German mines in France, appeared before him in uniform. Rattled, Bird rushed home to Nova Scotia and enlisted in the army to take his dead brothers place. And We Go On is a remarkable and harrowing memoir of his two years in the trenches of the Western Front, from October 1916 until the Armistice. When it first appeared in 1930, Birds memoir was hailed by many veterans as the most authentic account of the war experience, uncompromising in its portrayal of the horror and savagery, while also honouring the bravery, camaraderie, and unexpected spirituality that flourished among the enlisted men. Written in part as a reaction to anti-war novels such as All Quiet on the Western Front, which Bird criticized for portraying the soldier as a coarse-minded, profane creature, seeking only the solace of loose women or the courage of strong liquor, And We Go On is a nuanced response to the trauma of war, suffused with an interest in the spiritual and the paranormal not found in other war literature. Long out of print, it is a true lost classic that arguably influenced numerous works in the Canadian literary canon, including novels by Robertson Davies and Timothy Findley. In an introduction and afterword, David Williams illuminates Birds work by placing it within the genre of Great War literature and by discussing the books publication history and reception.
And We Go On: A Memoir of the Great War
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I suspect the print run was so small and sales expectations were so modest, Hunter-Rose Co. Hunter-Rose Co. So too is The Maid of the Marshes. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.
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Bird Hanna Smyth Will R. ISBN Originally published in , Bird later recycled much of it to form 60 per cent of his novel Ghosts Have Warm Hands. How did this happen? Besides Bird himself, another stable character is his friend Tommy, whose very name, as Williams aptly notes, imbues him with the voice of the everyman.
William Richard Bird May 11, — was a Canadian writer, author of fifteen novels, two memoirs, six history books and three travel books. A few years later his mother was left a widow with two stepsons and three sons as his father died of pneumonia. As he became a teenager, the family moved to the nearby town of Amherst , where his mother began running a boarding house. The family at this time was in need of money, so Will and his brother were unable to complete school. By the time he was twenty-three he decided to go to Alberta and work on the harvest to earn money. This was the case for many men from the East who were recruited to harvest crops on the prairies see Harvest excursion.