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Sassoon, Siegfried

war memoirs hunting country

(British, 1886–1967)

Brought up in a Kent country house, educated at Marlborough and Cambridge, Sassoon volunteered in 1914. An officer at the Western Front, he was wounded, won an MC (which he threw away), and publicly protested against the conduct of the war, also publishing compassionate, ironic anti-war poetry. Instead of court-martial, he was sent for shell-shock treatment. After the war he wrote a semi-autobiographical trilogy in which, as ‘George Sherston’, he charts in detail his early life as a country gentleman, loving cricket, hunting, and golf, and his development during intensive war experience in Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man (1928), Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930), and Sherston's Progress (1936). Three later volumes of autobiography, notably The Old Century (1938), relate his idyllic childhood and youth. Sassoon also wrote a biography of George Meredith, but is chiefly remembered for his war poetry.

Henry Williamson, Robert Graves.

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