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A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin

A Soldier of the Great War (original 1991; edition 1991)

by Mark Helprin

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1,283216,116 (4.3)89
Title:A Soldier of the Great War
Authors:Mark Helprin
Info:Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1991), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 800 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin (1991)

  1. 00
    Man of the Century by James Stewart Thayer (5hrdrive)
    5hrdrive: Fictional reminiscences of men who saw and experienced a great deal of history.
  2. 00
    The Postman by Antonio Skármeta (Jesse_wiedinmyer)
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    Memoir from Antproof Case by Mark Helprin (AmberA)
    AmberA: Two of my favorite books! Both very well-written.

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To describe this novel in one word - easy. That would be - interminable. The book simply went on and on and on and ... This is the second Helprin book I have read and I thought the same of the first. I doubt I will read any more of his books as this was simply a case of bloat, and excessive bloat at that. What this book needed was a good editor. I am not even sure how to class this book. It is not a war novel. It is not historical fiction. It is not farce. I don't believe that it even does justice to the incredible suffering that went on all along the Italian Front in World War I. What it is, perhaps, is a peaon to the beauties of the city of Rome. Other than that, I don't think there is much to recommend it.

I wanted to read this book because there is so little out there, at least in English, written on WWI. Since it is the Centennary of World War I, I thought I would read this one as part of the group read here on LT. I only finished it because I did find the charcter of Alessandro of interest. However, unless you have absolutly nothing else to read on this subject, and you might be trapped in a car or airport with nothing else to listen to or read, go find a different title. ( )
2 vote benitastrnad | Apr 24, 2014 |
This is an incredible, epic novel about a man looking back at his life and revealing his story to a young man. Mark Helprin is one of my favorite writers and A Soldier of the Great War is a must read for those who love language, storytelling, and fantastical adventures. ( )
  Kammbia1 | Dec 16, 2012 |
What a wonderful story...I believe this would make an epic, classic movie...it so beautifully written and eloquent. I loved the characters and beautiful descriptions & visions of Italy that came into my head while reading, the themes of family, friendships, love lost and won, the adventures, tragedies and triumphs of War...I could relate in many ways..maybe because of my love of history and because I am Italian and some of the topics and conversations seemed familiar to me in some way. I found the book very interesting...being of a time period, location and subject matter not often written or talked about.
I do have to say...I was certainly a bit disappointed at how the the author chose to end the book...it jumped around too quickly toward the end...I wanted more I suppose...but the journey was magnificent!:) ( )
  joegande | Nov 26, 2012 |
Probably my favorite book and one of very few that I've reread just to refresh the images and memories of my initial read almost 10 years ago. For any of us with any association with Italy during WW I, this wonderfully written story is a must read. ( )
  BFiabane | Dec 18, 2011 |
His writing is often beautiful. I liked this book. Some parts were so good they are to be read over and over. Lacked the humor and self-effacing tone of Don Quixote which I compare it to. A thoughtful and challenging book none the less. ( )
  SamTekoa | Jan 2, 2011 |
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On the ninth of August, 1964, Rome lay asleep in afternoon light as the sun swirled in a blinding pinwheel above its roofs, its low hills, and its gilded domes.
Numbers, as you well know, are delicate illusions. You don't have to have Archimedes talking about rabbits and turtles to know that when you start in with negative numbers, as we do with young schoolchildren, you are singing like a Druid.

In war, the terror, the compression of eschatological questions, the abridgement of the laws of man, the lack of sense in it, the confusion, the entropy...All combine to demolish completely the meaning and integrity of numbers.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156031132, Paperback)

From acclaimed novelist Mark Helprin, a lush, literary epic about love, beauty, and the world at war


Alessandro Giuliani, the young son of a prosperous Roman lawyer, enjoys an idyllic life full of privilege: he races horses across the country to the sea, he climbs mountains in the Alps, and, while a student of painting at the ancient university in Bologna, he falls in love. Then the Great War intervenes. Half a century later, in August of 1964, Alessandro, a white-haired professor, tall and proud, meets an illiterate young factory worker on the road. As they walk toward Monte Prato, a village seventy kilometers away, the old man—a soldier and a hero who became a prisoner and then a deserter, wandering in the hell that claimed Europe—tells him how he tragically lost one family and gained another. The boy, envying the richness and drama of Alessandro's experiences, realizes that this magnificent tale is not merely a story: it's a recapitulation of his life, his reckoning with mortality, and above all, a love song for his family.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:26 -0400)

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"For Alessandro Giuliani, the son of a prosperous Roman lawyer, trees shimmer in the sun beneath a sky of perfect blue, and at night the moon is amber as Rome seethes with light. He races horses across country to the sea, climbs in the Alps, and is a student of painting and aesthetics. And he falls in love, deeply and eternally. Then the Great War intervenes. Half a century later, in August of 1964, Alessandro, a white-haired professor, finds himself unexpectedly on the road with an illiterate young factory worker. During a walk over days and nights, the old man tells the story of his life. How he was a soldier, a hero, a prisoner, and a deserter. And how he tragically lost one family, but gained another. Dazzled by the action and envious of the richness and color of the story, the boy realizes that the old man's magnificent tale of love and war is more than just a tale: It is the recapitulation of his life, his reckoning with mortality, and above all, a love song for his family."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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