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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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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)

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If I had to pick only one, this would be my favorite book. ( )
  jbhender | May 14, 2016 |
This novel shows us one of our most generous writers in top form. Helprin just gives you so much! The book is a tale of grim war, impossible loves, and, most of all, soul-stealing Beauty. It's a novel that will take over your life for a week or two and, if you're not careful, leave your expectations toward modern literature forever changed. - Adam
  stephencrowe | Nov 11, 2015 |
Re-read -- I found it much more affecting now that I have children. ( )
  ben_a | Oct 25, 2015 |
I really liked this book, it is beautifully written and while yes it can get slow in some parts and yes it is long, it is well worth it in my opinion, and is a fascinating story. The story of Alessandro invokes all sorts of emotions along the way, and is always engaging even in the slower parts. One starts to adopt Alessandro's outlook on things as they go further and further in to the story, and I left with a new perspective and noticing life's small beauties. Great book. ( )
  XxMLGReaderxX | May 20, 2015 |
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 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:07 -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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