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Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh

Men at Arms (1952)

by Evelyn Waugh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sword of Honour (Book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9741213,416 (3.83)35
  1. 00
    Unconditional Surrender by Evelyn Waugh (John_Vaughan)
  2. 00
    Tunes of Glory by James Kennaway (devenish)
  3. 00
    The Valley of Bones by Anthony Powell (thorold)
    thorold: Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh both served as slightly elderly junior officers in World war II and used their experiences as the basis for novel sequences - it's fascinating to read them side-by-side. Waugh is the funnier of the two, as you would expect, but Powell's account tells you a bit more about the details of army life. (NB: you can also find these books as the first parts of Sword of honour and A Dance to the music of time, 3rd movement, respectively)… (more)

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» See also 35 mentions

English (11)  French (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
much better than i expected. ( )
  mahallett | Jul 4, 2017 |
This wasn't the book I thought I was going to read when I picked it up, and I had a hard time getting myself to keep going with it because it was so much more serious than what I was looking for.

But I found that once I did pick it up, the dry, easy tone and the accessibility of the characters propelled me through it fairly quickly and enjoyably.

I'm not quite inspired enough to read the two sequels right now, but I do recommend this book to anyone who enjoys war novels and quality writing. ( )
  MizPurplest | Sep 21, 2015 |
474. Men at Arms A Novel by Evelyn Waugh (read 6 Mar 1955)(James Tait Black Memorial fiction prize for 1952) This is a typical Waugh book: smooth, urbane, sometimes uproariously funny. Guy Crouchback is a member of an old Catholic English family. Divorced his wife in 1932, he spent the years before 1939 in Italy, then came back for the War. He got into the Halbreckers, a regiment teeming with traditions, and the book tells of his trials and exhilarations therein, drawing such an incisive portrait of the J. Alfred Prufrockish Englishman he so well knows. A fellow officer of Crouchback is Aptholpe. He is a real weirdy, and has a most hilarious time with a "thunderbox." At the end of the book he dies in Africa, probably because of some whiskey Crouchback took him. Crouchback is leaving the regiment to return to England at the end: it is still 1940. This is the first of a trilogy, the second of which hasn't yet appeared. Of course the sensible thing to have done would have been to wait till all three were out, and read them together--but that might be years from now. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | May 14, 2013 |
Well, it certainly makes one want to turn the pages quickly. Brig. Guy-Richie and Apthorpe, both of whom I know from the The Oxford Book of Humorous Prose (probably one of my 4 most delightful possessions, the others being English as She is Spoke, Pegasus Descending, and The Handy-Book of Literary Delights), merit their fame. But I'm not too sure about Crouchback. I'm disinclined to like, first, most author standins, especially when the guy's a conservative and Roman Catholic, and second, the central characters in satire if they're playing straight to the rest of the characters. The straight man feels like a sop thrown to me, the square, and thus an implicit sneer at me for not being able to follow along with the repulsive fun of, for example, Augustus Carp or the delightful tedium of the Diary of a Nobody (or its modern day heir, the Secret Diary of Adrian Mole).

I'll keep reading, though, although I suspect my motives. After all, what's a hater of war like me doing in this novel, about an intellectual and aesthete who discovers himself at his best in defending his great country and civilization? And, btw, did the great critiques of Enlightenment Rationality develop only in the countries that suffered the greatest defeats of the 20th century? Is it cheap to say that France and Germany themselves failed the Enlightenment project?

Yeah, it's cheap. And stupid. But one can't help but wonder.

Extra special bizarre moment: Crouchback, the Waugh standin, is in West Africa in WWII, and his mind brushes up against that great English Catholic novel of West Africa during WWII, The Heart of the Matter: "Later when he came to read The Heart of the Matter Guy reflected, fascinated, that at this very time 'Scobie' was close at hand, demolishing partitions in native houses, still conscientiously interfering with neutral shipping. If they had not the services of the new Catholic chaplain, Guy might have gone to 'Father Rank' to confess increasing sloth, one dismal occasion of drunkenness, and the lingering resentment he felt at the injustice he had suffered in the exploit to which he had given the private name of 'Operation Truslove'"* (322).

* His attempt, after 8 years of near sexlessness, to sleep with his ex-wife (herself married and divorced 3 times since her marriage to Guy ended) once he realizes that: a) since Catholicism doesn't recognize divorce; b) he wouldn't be committing adultery; c) and therefore it was sinless sex! Hilarious.

Or Truslove might be the silly reconnaissance mission into occupied Dakar (that is, occupied by the wrong set of Europeans so far as Guy Crouchback was concerned). Whatevers. ( )
  karl.steel | Apr 2, 2013 |
have ebook version
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Evelyn Waughprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bentley/Farrell/Burn…Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodska, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When Guy Crouchback's grandparents, Gervase and Hermione, came to Italy on their honeymoon, French troops manned the defences of Rome, the Sovereign Pontiff drove out in an open carriage and Cardinals took their exercise side-saddle on the Pincian Hill.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316926280, Paperback)

The first volume of Evelyn Waugh's masterful trilogy about war, religion, and politics.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:58 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In Men at Arms, Evelyn Waugh's first volume in the Sword of Honour Trilogy, Guy Crouchback has taken a commission in the Royal Corps of Halberdiers. The only real action he sees during World War II is an abortive affair on the West African coast.

» see all 4 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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