Description - Vessel of Sadness by William Woodruff
Italy, 1944 - this is the setting of one of the most convincing and quietly magnificent stories about man and war that has ever been written. Here, (distilled from the experiences and observations of one who fought with them in the British infantry unit) is the mood of those who fought and died at Anzio. Their task - to seize the Alban Hills and then Rome forty miles away. Instead, for more than four months, they sank into the mud of the Anzio plain and fought for their lives. Nothing has appeared since Erich Maria Remarque's ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT that can compare with this book's ability to penetrate the minds of men at war. There are no heroes, no heroines, no victories. This is a faceless, nameless, fragmented war. Even national differences - Britain, Italian, German, American - merge and are forgotten in this larger story of humanity. This story, in fact, does not need to be Anzio; it could be any battlefield where man has faced death.
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(198mm x 127mm x 17mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
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UK Kirkus Review »
The 1944 landings at Anzio were intended to bring a speedy end to the deadlock at Monte Cassino, where the terrain and a fierce German defence had held up the Allied advance. Instead, troops were pinned down in a small beachhead, and six months of vicious close-quarter fighting ensued, until the fall of Cassino. The author was at Anzio; his novel is dedicated to those who died there and richly deserves the praise it received on its first publication. Poignant and harrowing, it describes the experiences of young men, old before their time, as they live and die in the utter chaos and brutality of war. The writing is simple, and more affecting for it, matter-of-fact in its depiction of the mixture of the horrific, the mundane and the courageous that is the soldier's lot; fragments of their stories are told to reveal the individuals behind the official statistics. An unforgettable read. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - William Woodruff
From his birth in 1916 until he ran away to London, William Woodruff lived in the heart of Blackburn's weaving community. He eventually went to Oxford University and lived in Florida for over forty years. He died in 2008.