War is War
[BURRAGE, Alfred McLelland], Ex-Private X.
Category: First World War
London, Victor Gollancz. 1930.
First edition; 8vo; original boards, dust jacket and wrap around band bearing quote by R. C. Sherriff. For most of his life Burrage was a prolific author of short fiction for magazines, mainly superlative ghost stories along with romances. In 1916 he volunteered to join the Artists Rifles, unlike Wilfred Owen and Edward Thomas who also served in the Artists Rifles he did not progress to a commission. In War is War he hints that this was because he was a very unmilitary person, and an unsatisfactory soldier (while being scathing about the quality of many of the officers set above him). Burrage fought at Passchendaele, and in the retreat of 1918. By the late 1920s, there was a boom in war books. All Quiet of the Western Front was a best-seller, and publishers were eager to find a British equivalent. Burrage wrote War is War, a caustic and very credible account of his service in the Army. In the book, Burrage says that he used a pseudonym because "were it otherwise I could not tell the truth about myself and others."Victor Gollancz, greatly admired it, had to point out that the critics would hardly take the book seriously if it became known that the author earned his living producing two or three slushy love stories a week. War is War, is one of the few Great War memoirs written frankly by a private soldier. A fine copy, end papers a little browned, in a fine dust jacket, with minor splits to the extremities. With the original wrap-around band. A stunning copy.